Public Interest Law Initiative

Statement from Board President and Executive Director of PILI

Posted on: June 3, 2020

Racism in America is real. It is systemic. It is pervasive. Like George Floyd, too many people of color have paid dearly for the racism that we as a nation have failed to address throughout our history. We stand with all of those who fight every day to end racism in all of its forms. And, in this moment we recommit ourselves to this fight.

Our ongoing and redoubled commitment will take many forms, including:

  • Supporting, and whenever possible partnering, with our partner public interest law organizations in Illinois to address racism and its effects on equal access to justice;
  • Providing educational programming to our Law Student Interns, Graduate Fellows and pro bono attorneys to train them on implicit bias, the impact of systemic racism on our legal institutions and other issues relating to diversity and inclusion;
  • Continuing to explore how our pro bono efforts, both on our own and collaboratively, can be used to address racism and to ensure equal and accessible justice for all;
  • Ensuring that race and equity are always on the agenda for our programs and meetings as we work to ensure equal access to justice for all; and
  • Most importantly, listening to people of color to truly hear their experiences and perspectives, in order to better inform PILI as to what we can do to support them and to engage them in our work.

As writer Mychal Denzel Smith wrote, “How we define ‘justice’ will determine the work that we do to achieve it. And unless we do the work to define ‘justice,’ we never will.” We stand at the ready to define justice, intent on it being not just accessible but equitable for all. We hope we can count on you to join us.

If you have any feedback on any of the above commitments, or ideas for how PILI can better support the fight to end racism and promote racial equity, please contact us.


Sarah M. Bernstein
President, Board of Directors
sarah.bernstein@bfkn.com


Michael G. Bergmann
Executive Director
mbergmann@pili.org

Stay Connected. Sign Up For Our Newsletter: