ILS Chair’s News & Notes

Dear ILS Members,

Today is Friday, February 12th, the birthday of the Great Emancipator, 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. But more importantly, since its Friday, it is Gazette Day.

This President’s Day weekend, and on Lincoln’s Birthday, we can also reflect on the fact that February is Black History Month. It is an international history month, as it is recognized not only in the United States, but also in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. (although in Europe it occurs in October, not February). The first celebration of Black History Month was in 1970 at Kent State University. It was recognized nationally by President Ford in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial. At the ILS, we recognize Black History Month and celebrate the many accomplishments of Black, or African-American, scientists, politicians, engineers, astronauts, educators, inventors, poets, authors, actors and athletes. We also recognize the long struggle toward full equality which is still ongoing today. Beginning with the Great Emancipator, whose birthday we celebrate today, through Reconstruction, through suffrage and the struggle against Jim Crow laws, segregation and poll taxes, despite the 14th and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, through integration of the military after World War II, to Brown v. Board of Education, the requirement for federal troops to enforce court orders to integrate schools in the South, the passage, over great political opposition in some areas, of both The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and most recently the 2008 election of the nation’s first Black president. The struggle continues, and the promise of America, as stated in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” is unfulfilled while there exists discrimination in any form against anyone, whether based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin or sexual orientation. Let’s all resolve, every morning when we look in the mirror and brush our teeth and comb or brush our hair, to be part of the solution, and to finally fulfill the promise of America.

In further support of Black History Month, your Section has partnered with the Miami Finance Forum for the February 25th webinar entitled “Black Women in Business”. This webinar will discuss the journeys of prominent Black businesswomen, their successes and challenges, and raise awareness of the inequities that still exist in the business community. I encourage all ILS members to register and to show your support.

In this Gazette, as promised, we are now including the link with Promo Code to register for the ABA Section of International Law’s webinar on the “Swiss Chambers Arbitration Institution (SCAI)”, being held on February 16th and moderated by ILS Past Chair Ryan Reetz partner at ILS Regional Sponsor Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. Take advantage of the ABA Section member rate for this informative webinar. Next week also check out the February 17th webinar on H-1B Visas being held by ILS Past Chair Larry Rifkin and Juan Carlos Freire of ILS Regional Sponsor Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff and Elaine Weiss of Weiss & Kahn P.A.

The Florida Bar promotes wellness among its members. The ILS promotes it by co-sponsoring the “Surfer’s Journey Immersion Retreat” being held in Nosara, Costa Rica. Our own Pamella Seay (email is part of the faculty for the program, and can provide insight in how much value attendees receive at this program. As a bonus, not only will you receive wellness, but up to 13 certification credits for those looking to be certified in either International Law or International Litigation & Arbitration. I suggest that you take the ILS International Law Deskbook 2020 with you on this Retreat, as you enjoy an “Endless Summer”.

As always, please send us news of your or your firm’s accomplishments that we can feature in the “Member News” section of our Gazette. Let everyone know what you have been up to during the pandemic!

Enjoy President’s Day Weekend!

Sincerely yours,

Robert J. Becerra