Young Leadership Mission of the Anti-Defamation League

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Professionals

In late 2016, Burke Warren Associate Blake Roter, together with his fiancée Julie Shulman, traveled to Berlin, Germany with a Young Leadership Mission of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Blake is a member of their Regional Board and Civil Rights Executive Committee. An international civil rights organization founded in Chicago in 1913, the ADL works tirelessly “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.” 

While in Berlin, the Mission engaged in an exploration of Jewish and German life, past, present and future, by visiting Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Holocaust and Cold War memorials, synagogues and museums, and by meeting with members of the German Parliament, a former neo-Nazi and Jewish community members. The group discussed modern German society’s attitudes and conduct related to the Holocaust, including issues of guilt, responsibility and denial, and examined the current political climate in Europe and around the world. 

The highlight of the experience for Blake was meeting with a 20-year-old Syrian refugee who escaped the Syrian Civil War by foot and boat in search of a better life in Berlin. This encounter put a name and a face to the Syrian refugee crisis, educated the group about the experience of refugees while traveling to and settling in Germany, and encouraged the group to help find a solution to the crisis affecting the greater Middle East. The experience also reminded Blake of his own family’s journey a few generations earlier when his relatives made the difficult choice to leave their families and livelihoods behind in pursuit of a better life in a new world.

Blake first became involved with the ADL by participating
in its 2014-15 Glass Leadership Institute (GLI), and later
co-chaired the 2015-16 GLI program, which introduces future leaders to the ADL’s work and operations. That work includes combating anti-Semitism, bias and hate through educational programs, government lobbying, international affairs and working with law enforcement. The ADL’s work is supported by the efforts of the Civil Rights Executive Committee, which was created to help the Regional Board provide leadership and guidance on civil rights issues that are important to the ADL, including planning civil rights related programs and events and engaging in legislative and other advocacy efforts to advance the ADL’s civil rights agenda.

During his ADL involvement, Blake has twice attended the Glass National Leadership Summit in Washington D.C., where he met with then-Illinois Senator Mark Kirk and Congressman Mike Quigley to advance the ADL’s civil rights agenda. Through his work on the Committee, Blake has represented the ADL at the National Conference of State Legislatures and during its Summer Associate Research Program, in which summer associates from Chicago law firms complete pro bono legal research for the ADL on important civil rights issues. Blake finds his work with the ADL compelling and fulfilling, and looks forward to his continued involvement in this important community organization.

For more information on the ADL, please contact Blake Roter at 312/840-7116 or broter@burkelaw.com. 

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