MoFo Celebrates Black History and the 50th Anniversary of The Civil Rights Act with Harry Belafonte

by LP Green, II

Morrison & Foerster employees in the firm’s New York office, joined virtually by those in the firm’s other U.S. locations, shared an evening with award-winning performer and civil rights activist Mr. Harry Belafonte.

This historical event has been recorded and will be made available on the firm’s intranet site to allow viewing by Morrison & Foerster’s over 2,000 employees worldwide.

Mr. Belafonte began the evening by speaking about the loss of his dear friend, fellow artist and activist, Maya Angelou. He then shared how his journey to stardom gave him the platform and notoriety to advocate for social change and how he was inspired by his mother. Mr. Belafonte also spoke about the marking of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and his important role as an activist in the civil rights movement, which was chronicled in the documentary Sing Your Song and his memoir My Song.

“Morrison & Foerster is steadfast in its commitment to promoting a diverse culture,” said Obrea Poindexter, co-chair of the firm’s Diversity Strategy Committee. “We are delighted to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and black history with such a living legend.”

Mr. Belafonte met separately with the firm’s 2014 Diversity Fellows. During the meeting, Mr. Belafonte shared thoughts on the importance of using their education to contribute to making this world a better place.

Morrison & Foerster’s commitment to diversity was articulated 20 years ago with the mission to “continue our work to break down barriers to equal opportunity, to value fully the differences among people in our organization while recognizing our similarities, and to create an atmosphere in which each individual can develop his or her potential to the fullest extent possible.” The firm’s efforts have been recognized for the last decade by being continually named to The American Lawyer’s Diversity Scorecard, an annual survey that ranks law firms according to their percentage of racially and ethnically diverse lawyers and partners.

“It is a privilege to learn firsthand about the efforts that Mr. Belafonte and other giants of the civil rights movement took to create a just society,” said Morrison & Foerster chair Larren Nashelsky. “We honor that legacy at MoFo in many ways, including through our dedication to pro bono work.”

Morrison & Foerster maintains its unwavering commitment to pro bono and social justice. It was the firm that galvanized the 1991 gathering of law firm leaders that lead to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®. The firm’s work has been recognized by publications such as American Lawyer, Vault and various bar associations and organizations and has been named a “Pro Bono Firm of the Year” by Law 360 four years in a row.

“MoFo’s commitment to diversity goes beyond just words. We strive to actively engage in our community every day,” said Mr. Nashelsky. “Mr. Belafonte is an inspiring example of how important that work is.”

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