It has been studied
Minnesota Judicial Branch
Committee for Equality and Justice
The Minnesota Supreme Court has a standing committee--working throughout the state--to address issues of fairness in our judicial system. Each judicial district has its own committee working on these issues. The link below contains reports of their work, including the most recent (2019) Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report.
June 15, 1920
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, documents the country's horrible legacy of lynchings. Sadly, Minnesota was not immune to this mob mentality that put fear, prejudice, and anger before justice. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, there are at least 20 documented lynchings--starting before Minnesota became a state. The most notorious took place 100 years ago, and is the only one known to involve Black victims (the others were largely of Native Americans, those of "mixed blood," and a few whites). Thousands dragged three men from a Duluth jail shortly after they were arrested and hung them, proudly taking pictures to be shared. Less than a year later, the State outlawed lynchings.
Minnesota's Rich Cultural Communities
by Minnesota Compass
Minnesota has a diverse history based upon diverse people coming to this land. Minnesota Compass has assembled key data about many of the cultural communities currently present in the state. Get ready to quiz yourself and see if you truly understand the state and the people who call Minnesota home.
Native American Tribes
11 Federally Recognized Tribes
In Minnesota, there are 11 sovereign Native American tribes: seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and four Dakota (Sioux) communities. While there is no federally recognized Native American community within Hennepin County, the Little Earth Residents Association was formed in 1973 as the first urban housing complex with Native preference. Also, the Minneapolis American Indian Center founded in 1975 now serves more than 35,000 Native Americans in the 11-county metro region.
The Bar Associations
Supporting a Diverse Pipeline
For more than 100 years, the Hennepin County Bar Association has been a professional organization for the lawyers in Hennepin County. It is voluntary. There is no requirement for a lawyer who lives or practices in Hennepin County to be a member. More than 8,000 attorneys are part of the HCBA; Bill has been an active member throughout his legal career. The HCBA has made membership free for law students, has encouraged a diverse leadership corps, and has worked to increase the "pipeline" of diverse attorneys. This last program is the 1L Diversity Summer Intern program, which Bill brought to the Hennepin County Bench several years ago.
Contributing to Impactful Services
The Hennepin County Bar Foundation is the charitable arm of the HCBA. Each year, the HCBF provides financial grants and exposure to local nonprofits serving our greater community. The HCBF fulfills its mission of "promoting access to justice for the people of Hennepin County" by giving more than $200,000 in grants each year.
Bill is one of a handful of "Founding Fellows," committing to giving $1,000 a year for at least five years.
Affinity Bar Associations
Many active organizations
Minnesota has an engaged and energetic group of "affinity bar associations" which provide increased professional opportunities and support for our diverse attorneys. Bill has worked with most of these organizations over the years on educational and professional programs, most recently setting up a panel to discuss--with candor and honesty--recent events and long-standing practices of the Hennepin County courts to help ensure positive change.