Varnum LLP’s Statement on the April 4 Killing of Patrick Lyoya

We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Patrick Lyoya and the Grand Rapids community on the tragic and heartbreaking loss of a neighbor, a beloved son, a big brother, and a loving father to two young children. 

Patrick Lyoya’s death has reverberated from Grand Rapids to the entire country, and we stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, clients and community, and all who are grieving this loss. 

In the wake of such a tragedy, we believe it is important to reaffirm our commitment to true equality and the inherent dignity of all people. As legal professionals who believe in the rule of law, we share the feelings of many shaken after a killing that feels all too familiar and seek to end violence caused by discrimination. We join in our community’s demands for justice.

The status quo is unacceptable. 

Varnum’s Celebration of Juneteenth

June 19 (Juneteenth) is a day of both celebration and reflection. Today, we celebrate the announcement of freedom that was granted to the remaining slaves in America, in Galveston, Texas 155 years ago, and the strides our country has made towards racial equality since that time. At the same time we reflect on the many challenges and obstacles that still stand in the way of true racial equality in our country, including the recent events that highlight the racial disparity that remains today. 

Awareness is the first step to change, and today we remain aware of the racial inequalities that still persist. Varnum, led by the efforts of its Diversity Committee, continues to strive to break down the barriers that lead to this disparity, and supports all efforts of inclusion and equality within the legal community and beyond.

A Statement from Varnum’s Diversity Committee Regarding George Floyd

On Monday, May 25, George Floyd died while in the custody of a group of Minneapolis police officers. While the incident remains under investigation, we as members of the legal profession are deeply committed to the pursuit of justice, and are profoundly troubled and saddened by the death of Mr. Floyd. We acknowledge and find unacceptable the repeated injustices people of color in America have long endured. Varnum is committed to working to fulfill the promise of justice for every American and to add our voices to the chorus demanding change. We fully support our attorneys’ and staff’s efforts in this arena, from pro bono representation to community engagement activities. Varnum’s Diversity Committee will actively seek out opportunities for those interested to engage in conversation and education on these important issues, as well as make meaningful contributions to organizations engaged in social justice issues.