The devastating impact of systemic racism remains painfully on display. While we are relieved that Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd, it is but a small comfort when our legal system daily demonstrates that it does not value Black lives. Police violence against people of color is relentless and traumatizing. We grieve for Daunte Wright who was killed just a few short miles from where George Floyd died and 13 year old Adam Toledo shot to death by police in Chicago. Locally, an off-duty Pentagon Police Officer shot and killed Dominique Williams and James Johnson in Takoma Park while fleeing from what he claims he believed to be a car break in and Caron Nazario was held at gun point and pepper sprayed in his car despite that his hands were held out the driver’s side window. More than 260 people have been killed by police already this year, many of whose names do not even appear in news reports.
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee stands with Black, Brown and Native American people in their demands for justice. We commit to the struggle to eliminate racism in the criminal legal system, to fight the suppression of voices of color when they take to the street to demand change, and to hold those responsible for state sponsored violence accountable. We are committed as well to fighting other forms of racialized violence – the violence of the denial of an education, of housing and income insecurity, of segregation, of nativism, of inequality, and of other forms of oppression. We will fight for the equity that will only come from reparations that genuinely address the 400 year history of white supremacy.
Our grief informs our work and drives us to redouble our efforts. In doing so, we honor those who have made so many sacrifices for justice.