Presidents Page: Community, Equity, Democracy

2020 was a very challenging year for most people all over the world. COVID-19, the protests for racial equity due to the killing of George Floyd, and the presidential election were major news in the United States, Minnesota, and Hennepin County. I hope that 2021 will be a much better year and most of the challenges will be addressed in one way or another.

There is some very good news with the COVID-19 vaccine and the acquired deeper knowledge about the coronavirus. We have adapted to a new way of living and are more equipped to deal with the virus. The HCBA has also adapted to the virus and has offered live-streamed and on-demand CLEs and virtual networking events. We are looking forward to having in-person events again as soon as it is safe. We are hopeful that it will be sometime soon in 2021. This issue features the HCBA New Lawyers Section Chair, Jessica Timmington Lindstrom. I want to personally congratulate Jessica and the New Lawyers Section for championing the HCBA efforts to offer fun virtual events during the pandemic. I have received amazing comments about the events. I have attended a couple of them and was pleased with them. If you have not attended an NLS event yet, I encourage you to do so—they’re open to all members. 

Racial equity is a very complex topic that will take more than a year to address. However, there are a lot of steps that different organizations, public offices, and segments of society have taken to raise awareness about racial equity and the prevalence of the issue. We should not lose the momentum and the willingness to resolve this problem that has haunted the United States and Minnesota for so long. 
The HCBA Finance & Planning Committee's Racial Equity Committee has taken substantial steps to develop a plan that will be unveiled in 2021 for specific action items to address the issues that racial inequity brings to our profession and our justice system. I am very excited about these items and I hope all members become involved in these efforts because it is an issue that affects us all and our legal system. 

No matter what your political views are, we should all celebrate living in a democratic country where the rule of law and the will of the people are respected. The 2020 U.S. presidential election was very emotional and confrontational at times. This is a year to heal and to bring a message of unity to the country. Living in a democratic country is a privilege that not everyone has. I come from Ecuador, where coups happened more than once in the last 30 years, and where personal and partisan interests were put over the will of the people and the rule of law. Having a country where the will of the people and the rule of law prevails over any specific political ideology, party, or person is a privilege that should be celebrated and not taken for granted. I hope that we can leave any animosity behind and work to have a more united country for the best of everyone. 

I encourage all members to do their part to have a better 2021. Please participate in our virtual programming until the in-person programming becomes available. Please become a part of the HCBA Racial Equity plan and make efforts to eliminate racial inequality. Finally, please celebrate that we live in a democratic country and help to unite the nation that we all love.

Esteban A. Rivera
esteban@riveralawllc.com
2020-21 HCBA President

Esteban A. Rivera is an attorney licensed in Minnesota and Ecuador. He practices mainly Immigration and International Law with an emphasis in Latin America. He practices investment, employment, and family-based immigration law as well as removal defense. He is very active in the local legal community and the local bar associations.