Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 12, 2020

Letter from Ariel Anthony to the CBA

These are challenging times, and our nation seems to have awoken. People are beginning to recognize that there is racism in our society that has systematically and negatively affected black and brown communities.

This is nothing new. Mr. Floyd wasn’t the first one to die on camera at the hands of the police, with one of his last words being, “I can’t breathe.” Personally, I’m exhausted, but I’m also encouraged.

Black lives matter. My life matters. If you don’t understand this sentiment, reach out to me. Conversations and understanding are desperately needed. Uncomfortable conversations are needed. Speaking and listening to one another is needed.

We can’t reach a better understanding of each other or of racism in general without hard conversations. We can’t make a welcoming environment for individuals without talking to people and understanding what is currently not welcoming to that person. We can do better. We must be better. We cannot let the momentum die.

Chattanooga is not immune to such racism; I have personally experienced racism here. But I have also experienced a willingness to change in Chattanooga. This city has reinvented itself time and time again, and I hope this time is no different. From the lynching of Ed Johnson on the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906 to the current murders happening across the nation today, we all have work to do.

I encourage you to look at your social circles. Are they diverse? Have you had uncomfortable conversations about race with your family and friends? If not, let’s start the change now.

To my knowledge, there has never been a minority president of the Chattanooga Bar Association, and I am the first African American female president of the CBA’s Young Lawyer’s Division.

Again – let us work on changing things within our legal community. Let’s make Chattanooga a place where we can recruit and keep great minority legal talent. Join me and the CBA YLD board as we continue to have hard conversations and help to diversify the Chattanooga legal community.

If you’re looking for a book to read to better understand this topic, try “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram Kendi.

If you’re looking for ways to become connected in changing the legal community, visit the Chattanooga Legal Diversity Consortium at www.chaldc.org.

Thank you for your time.


Ariel Anthony

CBA YLD president