Actions speak louder than words. Southern Company must rid itself of systemic racism and the first step is by firing Balch & Bingham publicly and slamming shut the revolving door.
From Globe Newswire…
Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU), a public charity and advocacy group, called on Southern Company to immediately cut ties with embattled law firm Balch & Bingham for alleged racist misconduct against African-Americans and alleged tokenism in hiring practices across the law firm’s footprint.
“According to court records, Southern Company and its subsidiaries like Alabama Power continue to use Balch, a law firm that was involved in a bribery scheme to suppress and discourage African-Americans from having the EPA test their toxic property; the same law firm allegedly involved in ‘diluting and dividing’ the African-American vote; the same law firm that represented a quarry company allegedly involved in a ‘whites-only’ land grab and the proposed moving of historic slave graves,” said K.B. Forbes, Chief Executive Officer of the CDLU.
Last week, Marathon Petroleum terminated Balch & Bingham in less than 24 hours after receiving a letter and report from the CDLU. Marathon Petroleum declared on Friday that the company was “standing firmly against racism, intolerance, and hate of any kind.”
“The repugnant, immoral, and egregious behavior by Balch & Bingham should not be tolerated. Thomas A. Fanning, the Chief Executive Officer of Southern Company must fire Balch & Bingham immediately and unequivocally. Black lives matter,” Forbes declared.
Last year, Balch & Bingham let go of their only African-American female attorney in Birmingham, Alabama, Kimberly Bell, who headed diversity efforts at the firm. With over 200 attorneys, partners, and top staff throughout their footprint, only five Balch & Bingham attorneys at the firm are African-American, each one assigned to a different Balch office, reflecting alleged tokenism.
Earlier this month, Fanning (pictured above) declared on behalf of Southern Company, “Racism, in any form, is abhorrent. It cannot and will not be accepted, ignored or dismissed. It must be confronted head-on across our society as it is within our company. The time has come to uncover and destroy systemic racism in all its forms.”
The CDLU stated, “Actions speak louder than words. Southern Company must rid itself of systemic racism and the first step is by firing Balch & Bingham publicly and slamming shut the revolving door.”
Many former partners at Balch have been promoted to leadership positions at Southern Company, including Mark A. Crosswhite, the President and CEO of Alabama Power, one of Southern Company’s most profitable subsidiaries.