A note from our Managing Partner, Bruce Fowler:
June 4, 2020
It is very difficult to figure out what to say about the state of our country right now. I by no means want to seem tone-deaf, insensitive, or political. I do not want to seem out of touch or try to convince you of how you should be feeling or acting during this time. Instead, I have decided to share a very personal perspective.
Most people would look at me and think that I have never experienced racism. For most of my life that has been true. However, seven years ago I adopted an African American boy, my son Jackson. A few years later, I adopted my second son, Dash, who is also African American. Race did not matter to me; I was excited to finally be a father.
In retrospect, I was very naïve about the state of race affairs in the US, and particularly Denver. I could not have imagined the racism I would experience with my boys. I thought that people would accept my boys as the two loving, energetic kids that they are. Sadly, that has not been my experience. We have been in restaurants and heard people refer to my boys with the N-word. We have been turned down by babysitters that clearly judged us. On the playground, I have witnessed parents of white children pull their children from playing with my sons. I have felt the stares from disapproving people, both black and white, when they see me out with my boys. I have felt the sting of implicit racism from teachers and school administrators.
As a white man growing up in the US, this was all very strange to me. My initial responses of anger were not helpful to us. The times I have heard and felt the racism, it was hard not to consider punching someone. I honestly do not know how I control myself at times. I guess I think about the impression my response leaves on my boys, how it reflects on me professionally, and what is it really changing. But staying silent and not addressing the racism does not feel right either. It is frustrating, and I certainly understand the need to do something to make a change.
I do not have a good answer about how to eliminate racism in our country. But I am committed to giving my children the best life possible, and I am committed to running a firm that welcomes all people regardless of their gender, skin color, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion. We are all human beings, and we deserve to be treated equally and with respect and gratitude. My hope is that we use what is happening now as an opportunity just to step back and consider how we treat others, and to be willing to engage in conversations about what equality really means to us – as individuals, as a firm, and as a nation.