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Letter from the President

July 8th, 2020

Letter from the President

SABA Family,

Though we could not come together in person this year, I was grateful to have the chance to share my thoughts and vision for SABA with some of you during the first ever Virtual Gala. I share those words with you again here, and most importantly, I share the Call to Action that we all can, and must, meet.

I never could have imagined starting my SABA presidency in the midst of all of us both reeling from a pandemic and feeling so enraged by the scourge of systemic racism.

And to be honest, at a time like this, it is easy to feel helpless or worse, hopeless.

But then I think about SABA and how it can be part of the solution. SABA is an engine for positive change. In our legal profession. In our community. And in ourselves. We were made to address challenges. Even challenges like these.

And because of that I am confident that we are not helpless, and we are not hopeless.

My faith comes from knowing that SABA is a vehicle for all of us to serve each other and our community on the front lines. What front lines, you might ask?

First, the front line of legal advocacy, where we can harness the strengths of all of our members and use the law to aggressively fight discrimination and injustice. And through that work, we will show, not just tell, our Black brothers and sisters that we stand with them.

Second, we need to be on the front lines of mentoring and use every resource, every network, and every contact to give South Asian lawyers, especially young ones, every advantage in rising to the top of the legal profession because more diversity and success in our profession translates into more equality for all.

And third, the front line of connectivity, where we will reach out, stay close and offer support so that none of us ever feels alone when struggling to meet our personal and professional goals.

In the coming year, SABA will be here for you in ways big and small. But my hope is that the pain created by the Covid-19 crisis and the searing images of racial injustice we have witnessed will remind us to not only look to SABA, but also to invest in and use SABA as a way to make our highest contribution.

That’s why, in the coming months, I am going to call upon all of you – some more often than you would like – to do more, say more, and stand for more that we have ever had to before. Because now is a time for action, and I am confident that we are going to meet that call.

Of course, lofty calls to action, to be meaningful, have to start with small tangible steps. So, I am challenging every member of SABA to take these three steps between now and our next conference, one year from now.

  •  First, I challenge every SABA member who can to devote at least 30 hours to pro bono work focused ending racial injustice or discrimination, volunteer, provide support, donate.

  • Second, I challenge every SABA member to spend at least 26 hours this year, just one hour every other week, mentoring at least two diverse attorneys.

  • And, third, to support each other and stay connected locally, I challenge every SABA member to pledge to attend at least two local chapter events in the coming year.

I know these are big asks, but I also know we can do them, and SABA is going to help you and make sure that you have every resource necessary to make them happen.

I urge you to meet this call, and I look forward to hearing from you about how you did.

And I don’t pretend to have all the answers. That’s why, more than ever, new and difficult times as we are facing now are going to require new and innovative approaches, fresh ideas, and strong voices. Call us. Call me. SABA leadership is listening and ready to act.

It is truly my honor and privilege to serve as the next President of SABA North America. We have big things to do and a big role to play.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

Rippi Gill

President, SABA North America