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April 16, 2021

Philadelphia Bar Association Issues Statement Supporting PA Constitutional Amendment Barring Discrimination Based on Race or Ethnicity

“Supporting the fight for racial and ethnic equality is a core value of the Association,” says Chancellor Lauren P. McKenna

Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Lauren P. McKenna today released the following statement in support of an amendment to the state Constitution which creates a constitutional prohibition against restricting or denying an individual’s equal rights under Pennsylvania law because of race or ethnicity. Chancellor McKenna stated, “This amendment would ensure that equality of rights under the law will not be denied or diminished in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of an individual’s race or ethnicity.” The ballot measure will appear before voters in the May 18 primary.

“Supporting the fight for racial and ethnic equality is a core value of the Philadelphia Bar Association. We have always spoken up when it is under attack, and strived to ensure equal access to justice for all Pennsylvanians. We support the addition of this language to the Pennsylvania Constitution because it formally recognizes what we as lawyers fight for every day on behalf of our clients and what we know to be self-evident: That every Pennsylvanian, no matter their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other characteristic or belief deserves equal protection under the law.

“As an Association, we have also worked diligently to provide opportunities for our community to have critical conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion and the need to recognize the inequalities inherent within the justice system and society at large. We hope that adding this language to the state Constitution is just one more way to initiate such conversations and to further these efforts at the statewide level.

“We encourage the legal community and all voters to support this amendment and to vote “yes” to Question 3 when casting ballots in the May primary.”

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