Diversity in Law is a reality these days.
Whether this involves race, sexual orientation, religion, or gender identity, Florida is rich in diversity. And the Florida judicial system is committed to ensuring that all walks of life receive equal justice.
The Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity is a Florida Court investigation into diversity. It is guided by the Florida Supreme Court through Administrative Orders. The Standing Committee’s job is to explore funding for diversity programs, and to develop educational programs for judges and court staff.
Over time, the mission of the Florida Courts has changed.
It now states, among other things, that courts will “respect the dignity of every person, regardless of race, class, gender or other characteristic.”
It also includes language which states that our “judges and court staff” should “reflect the community’s diversity.” Simply put, the judiciary and court staff should include all types of persons, much like society itself.
Lately the news on our TV’s, blogs, and other sites has been grim. Information is constantly given regarding shootings which are race related. And there are an alarming number of hate crimes against persons with a different sexual orientation.
Clearly, people have resisted our diversity, as it means accepting something which is different.
It’s time we set aside these differences.
We all have unconscious biases based on our experiences, and knowing them is important. Harvard University, in conjunction with others, has created what is called the “Implicit Association Test.” This test measures a person’s beliefs or attitudes which he or she may not able to report. The test is broken down into simple steps which anyone can follow, but which provides interesting data.
Our judicial system, and the attorneys who work with our judges, play an important role in ensuring the public can place their trust in them. This requires that judges, court staff, and attorneys show understanding, fairness, and respect to all.
We as a profession must embrace our State’s diversity. It is the only way we can truly ensure that all citizens receive equal justice under law.