It is our seventh month since the official declaration of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the end remains elusive. We pivot, we create, we hope, and we remain optimistic of a positive end. But the death toll is staggering, there is no end in sight and, as fast as pharmaceutical companies are rushing to come up with a vaccine that can slow down the virus, more deaths happen on a daily basis. Added to the pandemic, our entire country is in a turmoil and citizens of all colors clamor for social justice. Our neighboring states and other distant states suffer with fires, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters. Our city suffers with unemployment and the inability to operate our businesses based on gambling and entertainment because of restrictions due to the pandemic.
As for social justice, skin color should not be used to describe a person’s accomplishments, their faults, or anything else. This has gone on for so long, with many similar situations occurring prior to this one, and yet we have made little progress. We need to make a concerted effort to open the lines of communication and explain and share with those who have never experienced these injustices why this is wrong. As the eternal optimist I think this time people may be listening and we may be able to have a more meaningful conversation moving forward. My faith in the younger generations remains strong. They will have to take over soon and most learn by example; let’s give them a good example.
Where we are at this time brings me to the next issue. Voting. With elections around the corner it is so important that we vote. It does not matter your political persuasion, your status in society, or your gender, but voting is such an important expression of the power we still have to make a choice. Women spent decades advocating for the right to vote. In this 100th year anniversary of their accomplishment we must honor their hard work and vote. It is appalling to learn how low the percentages of eligible voters are who end up voting in each election. This year with a pandemic interfering in our daily lives, it may be more difficult than other years. All through the history of this country, lawyers have been at the core of resolving issues for people and society. Let’s continue to be involved and please, please, please make sure you vote and encourage those around you to do the same. Whether you vote by mail or go to the polls in person, following pandemic protocols, do not let anything get in the way—DO VOTE!
In the meantime, at the CCBA, we keep on working to give our members as many benefits as we can. One of the main components of our membership is the networking and camaraderie we develop on a regular basis by having luncheons, CLE, and other social events that bring those in the legal profession together. We meet judges, we meet other attorneys who practice in other areas of the law, we meet mentors, we help students, we provide services, and we get together to give back to the community at large. All those things don’t work as well on ZOOM, but be damned if this virus is going to stop us. We remain motivated to keep going strong. We will be proposing new committees to address some of the current issues and remain relevant in the conversation. If you are willing to volunteer for a committee in diversity and inclusion, a financial committee, or join any of the existing committees: Community Service, Publications (must be an attorney), or CLE, please let us know. We welcome new volunteers.
This article was originally published in the “Local Courts” issue of Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association, (October 2020). See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2020/communique-october-2020/.
© 2020 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.
About the author:
Mariteresa Rivera-Rogers is an associate at the Las Vegas criminal defense firm Wright Marsh & Levy. Her areas of practice include criminal law and juvenile law. She is fluent in Spanish, and both the federal and state courts recognize her as a certified court interpreter. Mariteresa is a committee member of the AOC Judicial Council of the State of Nevada Language Access, the Interpreter Certification Advisory Committee, and the Clark County Indigent Defense Selection and Appointment Committee. Her spirit of community and professional service has also led to involvement with the Latino Bar Association, Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys, Clark County Law Foundation, and Nevada Supreme Court Task Force on Racial and Economic Bias. Mariteresa serves as president of the Clark County Bar Association through December of 2020.