Rich Vaughn, IFLG: We Believe Black Lives Matter

Time for Equal Justice Under the Law

As managing partner in what is effectively a small business serving the public, I always consider carefully when and how much to post about politics or controversies that are outside the purview of our firm. Our IFLG team is devoted to helping people who are building their families through surrogacy, IVF, egg donation or other forms of assisted reproduction, and it is never our intention to exclude or alienate any of our clients. Today, however, I feel no such hesitation in commenting on the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent worldwide demonstrations calling for equal justice under the law.

The silence that has contributed to where we are as a society (mirrored in the silence of the three officers who stood by as George Floyd’s life passed) must end.

I’m struck by the irony of the fear across the country—especially in Los Angeles where I live, on the streets around Fairfax and Melrose where I spent many years, seeing the boarded-up businesses that are trying to protect their stores from the damage and looting that has accompanied many of the protests.

Granted, I don’t approve of the violence, but I do understand the rage. And I wonder if all those who are afraid for their safety and for their storefronts today realize that the fear they are experiencing now, temporarily, is nothing, compared to the decades of fear from police brutality experienced by black Americans, fueled by the vastness and depth of racism that still runs through our country. I wonder if those property owners think about how grotesque it is for our taxpayer-funded civil safety servants (police, sheriffs, etc.) to allow the hiring of officers who would strut, flaunt and abuse their power of position rather than hiring the officers the public deserves: Officers who are committed to protecting and CARING for their communities.

Those of us who remain safe in the relative privilege of our skin color must speak up; we must not be silent, or else we are nothing better than a collective knee on the throat of those we oppress in this society.

In talking to one of my closest black friends recently, I realized there also has been silence on the other side. Our black friends also have stayed silent, to protect our feelings, to protect our friendships, or because they figured it wouldn’t make any difference anyway—or maybe because they are simply tired of having to explain.

I just learned from my friend that she was handcuffed in her own driveway… pulled over while taking her kids to school… because her car matched the description of another car reported to be involved in criminal activity in the area. Then she told me that was the third time in her life she’d been pulled over and given the same reason, that “her car matched the description of another car.”  (For the record, I have never been pulled over, for any such reason.)

To me, it seems nearly unbelievable that this happens… yet it does happen, all too often. The fact that racial profiling by law enforcement continues today, along with the fact that our black friends, for whatever reasons, do not feel comfortable sharing these daily violations with us, illustrates a deep-seeded distrust and lack of respect that must be rooted out and addressed before any true recovery and reform can take hold.

Clearly, we could all use more love and tolerance toward our fellow humans. And we have learned from the past that the simple act of passing a law or enforcing a rule does not miraculously change hearts and minds. But we also know that fair laws and equitable justice will pull the norms of society, and the hearts and minds of individuals, along with them, in time. And that is where we have to start.

What we need now are government and police that have earned our trust and respect and that truly serve and protect the people—not government and police that thump their chests and demand attention because of their positions of authority. As a society, we’ve lost trust in these systems of government and law, and, just like in a relationship, when you lose someone’s trust… it takes a lot of hard work to earn it back. It seems to me that’s where we are.

At IFLG, we have always stood up for everyone’s right to have a family. We stand for procreative rights and the right to have a family all across the world, across all cultures, and for every person, straight, single, or LGBTQIA+. Standing up for people’s rights is the right thing to do, it is the moral thing to do, and we stand with all those who support permanent societal and social justice reforms.

While we all hope the streets will be quieter by November, we must not be lulled into thinking the problems are solved. When I cast my vote, I will be thinking of my black friend and of George Floyd and of all the generations of black men and women who have lived in fear for so long. I hope you will remember them, too.

Black Lives Matter.

 

 

 

 

 

Rich Vaughn
Richard Vaughn
rich@iflg.net

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya received her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Technologies and Business University, where she majored in Marketing. She moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeast University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa
LUIS SOSA
Paralegal

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes
TONI HUGES
Paralegal

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
MIESHA COWART
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.

Kim
KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 25 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager of surrogacy and egg donation cases, and is also responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien
SUNNY CHIEN
Paralegal

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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
OFFICES
Los Angeles

5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

New York
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

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

Molly O'Brien
MOLLY O'BRIEN
Partner

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.