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RED MUG COFFEE CIRCLES
 

Assist’s Red Mug Coffee Circles are a place where young lawyers and articling students can chat with senior lawyer peer support volunteers about career issues. In normal times, our volunteers can be identified by their red mugs, but in the online world, just RSVP to join. While Red Mug Coffee Circles were designed as an initiative to support articling students and young lawyers, everyone is welcome for fellowship and mentoring—law students, internationally trained lawyers, articling students, lawyers and judges.
 
Monday, June 15, 12:00-1:00 pm
 
Please email program-manager@lawyersassist.ca for the Zoom invitation.
 

 


JOIN YOUR COLLEAGUES FROM 
ACROSS THE PROVINCE 
FOR VIRTUAL NOON YOGA
 

EVERY WEDNESDAY
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM

RSVP: program-manager@lawyersassist.ca
Once we get your e-mail, we will send you a Zoom invitation to join the class.
 

 
 


Have the buttons on your pants social distanced from their buttonholes?
Do you need some motivation to turn off  the news?

Are you tired of connecting to people electronically?
Join us for an in-person socially distanced small-group walk

Thursday, June 18, 2020

You are welcome to wear a mask
Would you like to lead a walk in your community?
We can walk in any centre where a walk leader will volunteer!
Email program-manager@lawyersassist.ca to volunteer
Let’s all get moving together so the Quarantine +15 can be a -10
 

#BlackLivesMatter
 
Assist—its staff and volunteers--experienced shock and horror at George Floyd’s death two weeks ago in Minneapolis.
 
We like to believe that we live in a safe world and that we can trust the institutions our society has developed. I realize now that this belief is only possible for those of us with privilege. This tragic event has impacted those of us with privilege differently than previous police-caused deaths. We are finally seeing how racialized people are viewed and treated by some individuals in positions of power, and symbols of oppression, like the Confederate flag and statues of slave owners, are coming down.

Assist is a helping organization—our mission is to enhance the well-being of Alberta lawyers, articling students, law students and their families through professional counselling, peer support, education and community.

We aren’t a political organization, but we can’t ignore current events that illuminate injustice—we need to learn about how racialized people experience injustice so that we can provide support to the entirety of the population we serve. This means that we have to learn and understand patterns that cause hurt and disenfranchisement.

And, as a helping organization, Assist needs to ensure that it is sensitive to the needs of racialized lawyers, articling students, law students, and families.

I was raised during the era that promoted colour-blindness—we were taught that everyone was the same apart from skin colour and that we should ignore external characteristics entirely. It wasn’t polite to talk about race. Current thinking is that this has had the effect of separating white people from discussions about racial experiences and actually prevents white people from considering systemic racism and historical injustices.

I wonder whether this also has the unintentional effect of denying empathy for the impact that race and prejudice has had on racialized groups. We essentially are nullifying the experiences of people of colour and we see no need to address racism because we have decreed that racism isn’t real.

This week, I read an excellent article by Professor Rhonda Magee, a law professor at the University of San Francisco, titled “How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias.”

Professor Magee, a black woman, has encountered racial stereotypes in interactions with people of all races who are taken aback that she is a law professor. She tells the story of about receiving a delivery addressed to “Professor Magee” where a delivery person—who was black-- did not believe her when she said that she was Professor Magee, stating that “black people may be as conditioned as anyone else by stereotypes and unconscious expectations.” We all have subconscious biases.

She suggests that mindfulness practice can decrease bias because mindfulness rases our awareness of the emotions we are experiencing in the moment, which gives us the opportunity to regulate and perhaps temper our emotional response. She cites research that mindfulness practice—including empathy and self-awareness activities-- can reduce biases about race and age.

At Assist, we believe that mindfulness is an excellent well-being practice for us as individuals and we welcome the idea that mindfulness could help us achieve community well-being as well.

If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, please check out our webinar called Mindfulness During Turbulent Times, led by Dr. Thamerai Moorthy, one of Assist’s psychologists.

In light of the tragic and unnecessary death of George Floyd and the ongoing information we are learning about treatment of minorities in Canada, we know that many in our community are feeling sad, angry, traumatized, helpless, disappointed, sick, and more. If you want to talk through and process these feelings, Assist is here for you.
 
Talking about and processing these feelings is important for individual and community healing, and the legal profession will play a role as we move forward. There is much work to be done moving forward and Assist is here to help.

“Call Us at 1-877-737-5508 and let us know how we can support you.”

Loraine
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Assist: Alberta Lawyers' Assistance Society · c/o JSS Barristers · 800, 304 8 Avenue SW · Calgary, Alberta T2P1C2 · Canada

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