The following letter was sent from David Stern to our Fellows and Fellow alums in response to ongoing racial injustices and police brutality throughout the country.
We are in the midst of two deadly pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to adjust our lives and work in the interest of public health and safety. Racism is a pandemic that has been in our country for much longer. It is a public health and public safety crisis when police brutality results in the deaths of Black people.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and David McAtee are four more Black Americans who have been killed at the hands of the police–people who are sworn to defend and protect our communities. Black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed by police–this is not okay. Black people also suffer daily examples of systemic racism when participating in what should be mundane activities such as jogging and birdwatching. I am heartbroken, angry, and concerned for every Black person in this country, and I know you share these feelings.
At Equal Justice Works, we believe that a community of lawyers committed to public service can fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all. All of you are part of that vision and we are so grateful for the work you are doing to bring about justice in your community and in our country. We know there is a huge amount of work still left to be done and we are in this together.
As one of our board members recently stated, “Here is the thing about white supremacy–there are no easy pathways that don’t require dismantling the laws, culture, and institutions that allow it to thrive. That can seem overwhelming, I’m sure. But that is precisely when we have to lean forward, to ground ourselves in purpose, recommit to the work that we do here and outside these metaphorical walls and show up.”
Equal Justice Works is committed to supporting passionate public service leaders because we know all of you serve a critical role advocating for communities and people in need to ensure we truly achieve equal justice for all.
Thank you for your work, today and always.
Equal Justice Works Executive Director