President's Message -February 2023

Black History Month

Janet Hong 

WLALA President 2022-2023

Last Saturday, I attended the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California’s Unity Breakfast at Aloha Café in Little Tokyo. Bar leaders from all over Los Angeles were present, including leaders from SCCLA, Langston, BWL, LGBTQ+ LA, JABA, APABA-LA, APAWLA, Irish American Bar Assoc., MABA and IABA. Before the meeting, we had a moment of silence for Tyre Nichols. Our collective silence struck me as a powerful moment of coming together and acknowledging the pain and loss of yet another member of the Black community at the hands of police.  

Many of us are still reeling from the back-to-back violent incidents over the last few weeks. Monterey Park. Half Moon Bay. Keenan Anderson – a Black high school English teacher visiting from Washington D.C. – who died from cardiac arrest after being tased multiple times by the LAPD. Initially, I hoped to craft a message celebrating Black excellence in honor of Black History Month and highlighting the contributions of the Black community to this country, but instead I must acknowledge the feelings of anger, disgust, fear, and sadness among us. 

How do we celebrate excellence and beauty in the face of such destruction and depravity? Because Black history teaches us that we must. The counter-narrative must be told, that feat of human strength and fortitude.  We acknowledge the grief, but we also elevate the resilience that exists simultaneously with the hurt.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims of these senseless tragedies. I hope we can all find a moment of silence to honor all of them. And I hope as we reflect on this month, on Black History and the present, that we do so with the complexity this time deserves.

Thank you, Jasmine Horton, President of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, for allowing us to repost BWL’s message on Tyre Nichols in our newsletter. We stand in solidarity with you.

Janet Hong
President, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles