Diversity Initiatives

Actively seek collaboration with local communities and organizations comprised of diverse racial, gender, age, ethnic, national, disability and sexual orientation backgrounds in support of our mission of equity and harmony

Multicultural Health Institute

Multicultural Health Institute group photo

Excerpt from a letter to Chief Judge Charles E. Williams from the Committee Chair person, Dr. Lisa Merritt

"The Multicultural Health Institute (MHI) and Know No Bounds (KNB) committee would like to thank you for supporting our Summer Tech Program. Your recognition of the great group of students engaged in learning Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and Health fields through APP development was so important and inspiring.

As you are aware, there are significant achievement gaps and health disparities due to complex psychosocial factors that adversely affect students of color and their families in the Manasota region. This leads to increased absenteeism and or more limited capacity to fully attend to academic issues; as well as lowered literacy and graduation rates for them and their families of origin and concomitant cultural and linguistic hurdles navigating the educational process."

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GAAP Event in Manatee County

GAAP Event in Manatee County

Circuit 12's Circuit Advisory Board's RED Committee recently hosted a GAAP event in Manatee County. Chief Judge Charles Williams moderated the discussion which was attended by about 15 youth from Teen Court, Paxen Day Treatment, Probation, and Project Bridge, about 15 Law Enforcement Officers from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office and the Palmetto Police Department along with about 15 parents, probation officers and provider staff. Pizzas were donated by Papa John's. Discussions were had about law enforcement encounters with juveniles. The teenagers spoke candidly about their experiences and perceptions of law enforcement. Everyone left the event having experienced a good exchange of opinions.

Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Committee
Announces Recipients of the 2017 Richard R. Garland Scholarship Awards

Diversity Committee Interns

The Sarasota County Bar Association, Inc. (SCBA) Diversity Committee is pleased to announce that law students Alexis Turner Garris and Tiffany Coleman are the recipients of the 2017 Richard R. Garland Diversity Scholarship of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Inc.

The Diversity Committee aims to increase diversity and inclusion in the Local Bar so that the Bar will reflect the demographics of our County and our State. Each year the Committee selects qualified law students of under-represented minorities, who have an interest in practicing law in Sarasota County upon graduation, and provides an opportunity for summer employment in both private law firms and governmental/judicial agencies in Sarasota County. Upon satisfactory completion of the 10 week summer employment program, each law student receives up to a $5,000 scholarship to their school.  

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Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Initiatives

Chief Judge Charles Williams

For Sarasota to live up to its reputation as a world class destination for all those who come here it must reflect the world’s diversity and be inclusive. The local legal community is no exception to this. Although there are those who feel that diversity and inclusion is not important, those with a diverse background who seek legal services in this community are going to be receptive to those firms and lawyers who are accepting and inclusive of people like themselves. Lawyers and law firms cannot ignore this fact and need to catch up both in a business sense and a moral sense in accepting and understanding why diversity and inclusion is good for their business and for the legal profession.

Experience has taught us that this cannot be accomplished in a vacuum. Someone or some group has to take a lead and explain to the legal community why diversity is important. We have to educate the public, at all levels, on the benefit of diversity and inclusion and also make the legal profession a reflection of the diversity in our community.

The SCBA Diversity Committee is tasked with that goal and gladly accepts the challenge of making the legal community and Sarasota a more diverse, inclusive and tolerant place for all those who call this community home.  Read More . . .