Statement on Racism and Inequality
Once again we are witness to yet another brutal and senseless death leaving us in shock, grief, and outrage. The murder of George Floyd follows a far too long list of black women and men murdered in our country: Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tanisha Anderson, Freddie Gray, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Deborah Danner, and countless others. These acts of lawless brutality have become far too common,while those responsible walk away without punishment or consequence. The systems which promote and foster racism have existed from this country’s beginning, and they continue to exist at all levels within our society and our institutions.
In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist.
– Angela Davis
The mission and goals of the WBA include the pledge to promote and affect diversity, equality, and justice under the law and within the legal system.We cannot stand by without raising our voices in protest against acts of racism that overtly and covertly suppress justice and equality, and we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who cry out for justice. It is incumbent upon us to work together for a just society in which everyone - no matter their race, creed, or color - can work, walk, jog, shop, learn, worship, and sleep in peace and without fear of harm or loss of life by those whose very job it is to protect them. As attorneys, we have a responsibility not only to seek justice inside the courthouse, but to seek out injustice everywhere, to speak up and speak out against those injustices, and to work toward righting those wrongs. All those who are marginalized and oppressed have the right to speak out, and we have an obligation to ensure that every voice is heard.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
WE ARE AT A CRITICAL TIME. Bringing about lasting change will require change within ourselves, change within our institutions of justice and law enforcement, and change at all levels of our society where inequality exists. It will not happen overnight, but it can be done. True transformation will require commitment, stamina, and the will of the people - people of all races - to demand change.
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.
- Maya Angelou
If you feel called to act, here are some things you can do now and moving forward:
- Pledge your commitment that Black Lives Matter and that ALL people in this country deserve justice, equality, and peace
- Listen to and learn from those who know the effects of racism and discrimination
- Work in solidarity with communities of color to create systems that honor Black, Brown, and Indigenous life, specifically
- Demand change from your local and national representatives
- Contribute to and support organizations working toward equality, justice, and true reform
- Attend protests and rallies; sign a petition
- Use your social media platforms to protest virtually and show solidarity