Linda Chanow letter of support

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It is with profound sadness that we learned that Linda Bray Chanow has resigned as executive director of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. As experienced lawyers who are not only women of color ourselves but, by any objective measurement, leaders in effort to promote greater diversity and inclusion in our profession, we find it disappointingly ironic that one of the greatest allies, supporters and friends of women of color has been forced to resign amidst accusations of racism. To those of us who know Linda well and have worked closely alongside her, the accusations being leveled against her, the motivations and biases charged and the discriminatory and bigoted behavior alleged is inconsistent with the behavior and motivation of this champion of all women whom we know so well.

We do not seek to argue the facts or debate the merits of the students’ claims against her. The media, social and otherwise, is not the appropriate venue, especially when other balanced procedures and recourses exist. That Linda’s reputation is being tarnished this way grieves us, especially as we are not aware that charges like this or of any kind were ever made against her before August 2018, and then, only at a time when she was on a medical leave and having minimal interactions with anyone at the center. We regret that these students had such disappointing experiences with the center.

As recognized experts on race and racism, particularly with regard to women of color, we feel obligated to offer a contrary perspective to that of the students. We have had the opportunity to observe up close and firsthand Linda’s passionate commitment to support and advance all women. We have witnessed Linda working diligently to ensure the inclusion of women of color in her work with the center. We are familiar with and have been the beneficiaries of Linda’s determination to see that women of color were given the same opportunities to stretch and grow both educationally and professionally. Each of us feels that she is stronger, more effective and better equipped to not merely cope with being among the most underrepresented groups within our profession, but to thrive. Linda has been instrumental in both helping us build strong and effective networks among women of color that cross lines of difference, as well as being an integral part of those networks.

Again, we are not here to debate the merits of the various claims. We simply want to state that our real-world experiences with Linda compelled us to reach out on her behalf.

 

Bernadette Beekman

New York, NY

 

Kathleen C. Chen

Co-Chair, Women’s Leadership Network

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Philadelphia, PA

 

Fernande R.V. Duffly

Boston, MA

 

Monica D. Dula

Past Chair, Women Lawyers Division

National Bar Association

New York, NY

 

Juanita Harris

CWIL Power Circle Leader & Supporter

Dallas, TX

 

Jin Y. Hwang

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association President 2015-16

American Bar Association Standing Committee on the American

Judicial System Member

American Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council member

West Orange, New Jersey

 

Selena Kim

Co-Chair, Women’s Leadership Network

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and partner and co-chair of the Women’s Network

Gowling WLG

Toronto, Canada

 

Bonnie Lau

Co-Chair, Women’s Leadership Network

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and Partner and Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Dentons U.S., LLP

San Francisco, CA

 

Jean Lee

New York, NY 

 

Michele Coleman Mayes

New York, NY

 

Shaila Ohri

Co-Chair, Women’s Leadership Network

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Washington, D.C.

 

Diana Sen

New York, NY

 

Gina Shishima

Past Chair, Women’s Leadership Network

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

Austin, TX

 

Veta T. Richardson

President and CEO, Association of Corporate Counsel

Washington, D.C.

 

Sandra Yamate

CEO, Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession

Chicago, IL