There was finally a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, or so it seemed.  California, among other states slowly opened back up, just to lock back down this summer due to the crisis with the Delta Variant, which may affect us for some months to come.  And it is still not at all clear what the post-COVID world will look like.  Many of the technology changes will stay, no doubt we will be spending more time on Zoom, or some other virtual platform.  As we have seen remote appearances can be great, and there is a lot more opportunity to hear from experts and witnesses from all over the world.  On balance, being thrown into the 21st century has been good for us.

What we miss, however, is that human touch.  Meeting over a cup of coffee, lemonade, or perhaps an adult beverage.  Talking across a table, as opposed to across Wi-Fi signals.  Seeing someone as a whole person, and not as a small box on a computer screen.  The good news of course is that we all got to see each other’s children, pets and technical failures. So, we did maintain and perhaps even increase our humanity over the past year.  Most importantly, we all learned the fact that we need to give and receive each other’s grace.  As it has been said, we are all in the same storm, just not in the same boat.

In light of the events of the past year, AFCC-CA created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council.  I am certain that many of you were able to attend the presentation at our last full membership meeting in February.  We are excited as this Council brings a new perspective to our work and encourages us to look beyond our comfortable past.  As time progresses, it is clear that this multi-disciplinary organization has a lot to add in the discussion concerning families.   The DEI Council is one of the AFCC-CA’s voices doing just that.  And in this issue of Insights is a statement from the board of directors, crafted by the DEI Council, against anti-Asian hate.

As you know, AFCC-CA’s 2021 conference was cancelled, save for the DV virtual presentation, which was held as a webinar in April.  We are looking forward to Northern California in 2022; the conference committee is hard at work in the planning stages.  We look forward to actually seeing you then.  Please consider attending.  If attending the conference is not possible, over the next year we are planning a series of webinars.  This organization has many talented individuals who have a lot to teach the rest of us, so please think about sharing that expertise with the rest of the members through conducting a webinar.  (Submit your webinar ideas through our online contact form and we will make sure the Webinar Committee gets them.)

Thank you for your self-less and endless work for families.  Your work makes it better for all Californians.

Judge Mark A. Juhas sits in a family law assignment on the Los Angeles Superior Court and has done so since November 2002.  He is a member of several committees for the Los Angeles Superior Court and for the Judicial Council where he has served on the CJER (Education) Governing Committee, Elkins Family Law Implementation Task Force, Self-Represented Litigant Task Force and the Family and Juvenile Advisory Committee, which he has co-chaired for over 10 years.  In addition, Judge Juhas is the current President of the California Chapter of AFCC.  He regularly provides training for judges, attorneys, and other family law professionals.