Executive Summary: Looking back and looking forward
Vol. 77, No. 4/ July - Aug. 2021
Mischa Buford Epps
Mischa Buford Epps is executive director of The Missouri Bar.
With increasing opportunities to safely spend the holiday with friends and loved ones, my family and I took in Salute to America’s Red, White, and Boom fireworks display above the Missouri State Capitol here in Jefferson City.
As the brilliant lights burst in the night sky, I felt blessed to celebrate the 245th anniversary of our nation’s independence from the British. This year’s July 4th celebration was even more special as it followed on the heels of our nation’s first recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Both holidays, not that far apart on the calendar, provide us a moment to reflect on our ideals of freedom and independence and the complex manifestation of the same in our nation’s past and present.
Throughout 2021, Missourians from all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis have joined together in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the bicentennial of Missouri’s entry into the Union as the 24th state. As part of the Louisiana Purchase Territory and the first state completely west of the Mississippi River, Missouri’s entry into statehood, pursuant to a hotly debated congressional compromise, changed the course of national history. Going back to the indigenous people who originally populated these lands, Missouri has always boasted a diverse array of people, voices, and perspectives. Aug. 10, 2021, is Missouri Statehood Day. Regardless of whether you say “Missouree” or “Missourah,” I encourage you to find ways to participate in the celebration of our state’s past, present, and future. A great place to start is the Struggle for Statehood digital and traveling exhibit put together by the Missouri Humanities Council and the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri, found at Missouri2021.org.
At The Missouri Bar, one of our best opportunities to celebrate the diversity of experience and perspectives of Missouri lawyers is at each year’s Annual Meeting. Special thanks to the members of our Annual Meeting Planning Committee and bar staff who have been hard at work putting together a tremendous Annual Meeting program. This year’s Annual Meeting will be held virtually in a “Lunch & Learn” format Sept. 20-24.
The meeting includes three engaging plenary sessions. The plenary session on Wednesday, Sept. 22, features lawyer Denise Robinson sharing perspectives on the nexus of lawyer well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
On Thursday, Sept. 23, Saint Louis University Law School Professor Chad Flanders will lead an exploration of voting rights from a constitutional and historical perspective.
Finally, on Friday, Sept. 24, we will be privileged to hear from University of Missouri School of Law Dean Lyrissa Lidsky, Mizzou Law Professor Thom Lambert, and United States Naval Academy Professor Jeffrey Kosseff on regulating the internet, multi-billion-dollar companies, government power, and free speech. With more than 20 continuing legal education programs, a CLE Ethics Series, and YLS New Lawyer Series, the virtual Annual Meeting offers more than 14 MCLE hours, 10 hours of ethics, and 4.5 hours satisfying the diversity/inclusion/cultural competency/elimination of bias (DICE) requirement. We hope you will find this year’s meeting easily accessible, affordable, and beneficial to you and your practice.
We have so much to celebrate, and I look forward to doing so with you.