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MCCA President & CEO Joseph K. West Gives Moving Speech on Diversity After Charleston's AME Church Tragedy

June 26, 2015

Diversity Advocate Explains Significance of Racist Killings in South Carolina During The Legal Intelligencer's Diversity Awards Dinner.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Joseph K. West, addressed leaders of diversity in the legal profession during the Legal Intelligencer's Bi-annual Diversity Awards Dinner last Thursday, June 18, 2015. West, who was the keynote speaker, originally intended to discuss the lack of diversity in the legal space, but was struck by the tragic shooting in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Instead, he eloquently discussed how we all have an obligation to consciously and proactively fight against racism in our society.

Some excerpts from West's speech below:

Despite our accomplishments, despite what we are called to do as attorneys, there is that which we are called to do as human beings and it speaks to the human condition."

"How many of us have the courage to see people who may not look like us, who may not be from the same background as we are, who may have been victimized by the word of the guy in the office next door, or the woman across the hall, who didn’t have someone fighting for them, who didn’t have a sponsor, who didn’t have a mentor, who didn’t have someone who could guide them through and navigate them through the thicket that exists, the political thicket that exists in every organization? How many of us have the courage to do that?"

West concluded his statement by stating, "I've heard it said that it’s really great to make money, but while you are making money, make sure to make change. Because money is silent, but change makes noise."

Click here to watch the full video.

Every two years, the Legal Intelligencer’s Diversity Awards Gala recognizes a group of outstanding minority attorneys from across Pennsylvania. Joseph K. West has served as the President and CEO of MCCA since 2011. He has implemented a number of programs focused on increasing MCCA's ability to expand opportunities for women and minority lawyers, and has led an overhaul of MCCA's scholarship and mentoring programs.

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