Diversity & Inclusion

Championing Justice, Equality, and Professionalism

Our Diversity Enriches Us, Our Inclusion Empowers Us

The MSBA recognizes diversity as a core value and defines it as “recognizing the power of diversity of persons, viewpoints, beliefs, and human understanding.”

MSBA’s two principal goals in the area of diversity and inclusion are:

  1. Making the MSBA a model for diversity within all areas of the organization.
  2. Supporting the work of Minnesota’s affinity bar associations. 

MSBA 2017-2020 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan

D&I News

MSBA Issues Statement Regarding Asian Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) denounces the increase in racist attacks and xenophobic profiling against members of the Asian-American community in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid public fear and panic about the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been increasing reports across the country of attacks targeting Asian Americans, linked to racist assumptions about COVID-19. For example, a woman wearing a face mask in New York City was punched and called “diseased”; two Hmong men in Plymouth, Indiana were denied service at hotels due to the false assumption that they were Chinese and carrying COVID-19; and an Asian family in Texas was targeted during a knife attack while grocery shopping, and both the father and son were cut badly across their faces. Likewise, a growing number of racist incidents against Asian-American students, parents, and families are being reported in our communities here in Minnesota.

The fact that COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China has at times led to Asian Americans being stereotyped as infected with the virus, and this racist assumption hurts Asian American communities all over the country. These and other racist attacks harm Asian American communities and the larger community by stoking animus between groups when it is important to be as cooperative as possible. Furthermore, these violent incidents recall past attacks that have remained a permanent stain in U.S. history. We must denounce anti-Asian bias and racial intolerance and stop it from becoming normalized.
As part of this effort, the MSBA urges the media and community leaders to help stop the spread of xenophobia and misinformation by encouraging all community members to share only confirmed and verifiable information about COVID-19, how it spreads, and what actions we can take to ensure the best protection for everyone. In addition, the MSBA encourages providing information about all measures that impact Asian American communities in multiple languages so that those who are limited English proficient are able to access important information in a timely manner.

COVID-19 does not discriminate by race. The harm caused by COVID-19 will be greater if we allow it to divide us, and eradicating the virus will depend on our ability to work together.

MSBA encourages anyone who encounters or witnesses attacks or harassment to report it to 911 immediately and request language assistance from law enforcement entities if needed. Reports can be made to the
Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) at 651-539-1133, or info.MDHR@state.mn.us.

The MSBA Diversity and Inclusion Council is seeking new members! Click here for more information and to apply!

Diversity and Inclusion Recruitment Flyer

Learn more about the MSBA's 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Conference.
Access materials and the April 1st Schedule!

Biennial Diversity and Inclusion Conference Flyer

MSBA Issues Statement Regarding the End of the DACA Program

In light of the announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be ended in six months, the Minnesota State Bar Association urges Congress to act quickly to pass legislation that provides a fair, orderly and safe way ahead for the young people affected by this change. The announced suspension of the DACA program without a ready legislative solution threatens the future of thousands of deserving people to pursue their dreams, and places them in danger of deportation. It also threatens our country’s access to a wealth of human potential.

The MSBA believes immigration reform should include a path to lawful permanent residency or U.S. citizenship for undocumented persons who entered the United States as minors and have developed significant ties to the United States while displaying good moral character and passing security screening.

Frequently referred to as Dreamers, the more than 800,000 people who entered the DACA program, including over 6,000 in the State of Minnesota, have significantly contributed to our country both economically and through industry innovation. Indeed, an open letter signed by hundreds of the nation’s top business leaders pointed out that Dreamers contribute $460.3 billion to the national gross domestic product and $24.6 billion in Social Security and Medicare tax contributions.

In addition to the economic reasons, the humanitarian motivation for the DACA program is compelling. Dreamers came to this country as children and have embraced this country as their home. To send them back to a foreign land that many do not even remember would be inconsistent with the values on which America was founded.

MSBA Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit

We hope this Toolkit will be a useful resource for MSBA sections and committees as they integrate diversity and inclusion strategies into all MSBA initiatives. Diversity and inclusion are inextricably linked to the MSBA's continued efforts to offer innovative solutions and cutting edge programming for all lawyers in Minnesota. The MSBA sees diversity and inclusion as opportunities to improve the resources we provide to our members and to find the answers and solutions that our members need as they practice law in the 21st century.

D&I Resources