Chair: Harrison Smith, Anthony | Kennedy, PLLC
Dear Members of the Bar:
As the nation mourns the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd, we are reminded of the unfathomable pain too long felt by black, brown and other families of color in communities across America – including our own. We humbly acknowledge that our own community is still grieving the heartbreaking death of Atatiana Jefferson. As lawyers, who are called to uphold the fundamental American principle of equal justice under the law, we are deeply troubled and alarmed by the commonness of instances requiring our Bar to reflect upon how justice truly is administered.
This is not a time to be a bystander or to mince words. Let us be clear, the TCBA Diversity Committee categorically condemns systemic racism, ongoing discrimination, and police brutality. In far too many instances, black and brown lives are not afforded the same value and esteem as their white counterparts. So long as this remains the case, we all must be committed to the work required to eliminate inequities in every aspect of our community and profession, while restoring trust and faith in the rule of law and our legal institutions.
Together, we must not let this charge be hollow; it must be met with earnest action by every member of our Bar. We must humbly examine our practices to ensure that diversity is seen in the result of whom we hire, develop, promote and represent. We must honestly critique our criminal justice system to safeguard the constitutional promise of due process and equal treatment under the law on all levels and for all people, regardless of color or socioeconomic status. We must thoughtfully educate ourselves about our fellow citizens through relationship building with our diverse neighbors, co-workers, and fellow attorneys. In the spirit of action, the TCBA Diversity Committee intends to utilize the full extent of our resources to educate the Bar on racial inequity and justice reform in our community and profession; to improve cross-cultural engagement, dialogue, and fellowship between our Bar and members of diverse communities; and to create new opportunities for attorneys to volunteer their legal skills in service of those in need.
The fight for justice should not be borne by our black and brown communities alone. It is this Bar’s fight to bear as well – we swore an oath to that end. We support members of our Bar and community who have peacefully exercised their constitutional right to protest, demand reform, and express their legitimate frustration.
We join in solidarity with our entire community to demand that those responsible for the senseless deaths of Atatiana Jefferson, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other men and women of color be swiftly and appropriately brought to justice.
Committed to true justice and equity,
TCBA Diversity Committee