Imani Shannon was an equity and justice lead with the Washington State Bar Association, where they worked closely with the Diversity Committee (now DEI Council); developed Legal Lunchbox CLEs; delivered DEI trainings; and worked closely with the Bar News team on a variety of projects for the magazine, including an equity lens, the DEI Resource of the Month, and other articles. They also served on the QLaw Foundation Board of Directors and served as an advisory board member for RISE, API Chaya’s peer-facilitated program for BIPOC survivors of sexual violence.
They had volunteered and worked in the civil legal aid space since 2010. After being a Spanish/English translator at a day-laborer center in Portland, Oregon, they dedicated their career to advocacy for intentionally silenced and systemically oppressed communities. Before joining the WSBA, they coordinated volunteer-based civil legal clinics for low-income clients through the KCBA Neighborhood Legal Clinics, and worked as a bilingual domestic violence case manager.
Imani did everything with intention, always thinking about how to create inclusive space in meetings, support law student representatives, and put action to words. They were incredibly special to their colleagues at the WSBA and to many others in the legal community.
Imani’s work in Bar News includes:
MORE WORDS FROM THOSE WHO KNEW IMANI
“Imani was a rare and beautiful soul. They invited everyone around them to be their full selves and always spoke up for change when they saw that people couldn’t. They were a brilliant storyteller and visionary and used their talents to help people heal and change systems that caused harm. Imani showed us how much strength and power lies in kindness, laughter, and courageous vulnerability. We can all honor Imani by continuing the fight for justice and liberation for all.”
— WSBA Equity and Justice Team
“I was so privileged to know and work with Imani on issues relating to DEI. They were fiercely intelligent, witty, and absolutely committed to making the world a better place. They led by example and were fearless in forging new paths to inclusion. I will miss you forever, Imani, and will try to honor the example you set for all of us.”
— Sunitha Anjilvel, WSBA DEI Council co-chair and WSBA District 1 Governor
“Imani embodied the mission of the DEI Council—in fact, they set our beat, drove our achievements, and kept this wide ranging group of volunteers and governors on task and on mission. Imani’s drive, intentionality, knowledge, and empathy were present in everything the DEI Council accomplished recently. Every one of us will miss Imani’s presence in our lives.”
— Raina Wagner, WSBA DEI Council co-chair
“They be of that kind of brilliant bold Black magic, raising the voices from the margin to center them with power, speaking the poetry of justice, writing the songs of progress, dancing in the complexity of harmonious multiple identities.”
— Judge Andrea Jarmon, former WSBA DEI Council/Diversity Committee co-chair
“We are heartbroken. We miss Imani’s humor, brilliance, creativity, and care. They did so much to generate healing and connection in our communities. We feel so incredibly lucky to have known them. Their presence is deeply felt, and greatly missed.”
— API Chaya RISE Advisory Board
“Imani was a funny and sweet friend, QLaw Foundation board member, and a fighter for justice and dignity. I carry their loss in my heart along with the loss of innumerable Black LGBTQ2S+ leaders over years and generations. When we allow systemic racism to continue, we allow these losses to continue, and I am filled with grief and rage at how little time Imani was afforded with their brilliance in this life. I miss you, Imani. You will be in my heart for as long as I have.”
— J. Denise Diskin, QLaw Foundation Executive Director
“Imani was a person from whom I learned about equity, advocacy, and, most important, identity.”
— Nam Nguyen, former WSBA DEI Council co-chair and WSBA District 10 Governor