The Center for Black Excellence and Culture has announced the launch of the Attorneys for Black Excellence Initiative, a new fundraising effort to raise $250,000 from greater Madison law firms and individual attorneys. This important initiative will help The Center’s capital campaign as it closes in on the final $3 million needed to break ground debt-free this year.
Spearheaded by attorneys at Husch Blackwell LLP and the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers (WAAL), the initiative recognizes The Center as a much-needed solution to help address long-standing underrepresentation within the legal community, according to a press release from the Center. Currently, only 2% of all attorneys in Greater Madison identify as Black, in part due to reputational and quality-of-life barriers that inhibit recruitment.
“The Center is a remarkable, Black-led project creating a vital space that fosters personal and professional development opportunities and moves Madison’s Black community forward—something we believe everyone, including every lawyer in Madison, will value. When the Black community thrives, everyone benefits,” said Melissa Caulum Williams, attorney at Husch Blackwell LLP and co-founder of the Attorneys for Black Excellence initiative, in a press release.
As a first-of-its-kind cultural and innovation hub, The Center will help the legal community’s efforts to attract and retain Black legal talent, which has broader impacts on creating a more equitable justice system and society for all residents. Diversity in legal representation and resources has a direct relation to entrepreneurial, educational, financial and professional opportunities and access to justice for the Black community.
“We are so grateful and inspired by leadership across Madison’s legal community in the final stretch of our historic capital campaign. It’s even more evidence of how The Center’s impact will reach across the region,” said Dr. Alex Gee, founder and CEO of The Center. “This incredible initiative, with people from Wisconsin coming together, pooling their talents and passions to create change – that’s exactly the promise of The Center.”