June 5, 2020
We watched in horror as George Floyd was killed, begging for help and his mother. But the racism that enables this gross abuse of power is not new. For too long, silence has enabled repeated killings and assaults in Black communities. The list of Black names in the social lexicon is heartbreakingly long, and there are countless more that never trended on social media.
The Washington Women Lawyers stand with and for our communities of color, especially the Black community today, to unequivocally denounce the systemic legal injustices that allowed George Floyd to be killed by police officers who many believe will likely escape justice; for Ahmaud Arbery to be hunted and his killers to walk free for weeks; for Breonna Taylor to be senselessly killed while sleeping in her own home; for Christian Cooper to be threatened with the police by a white woman weaponizing her privilege; for Manuel Ellis to become yet another Black man crying out, “I can’t breathe” before he died in police custody. Because Black lives do matter, because Black names shouldn’t be the next trending hashtag, because Black parents shouldn’t worry about their children leaving their homes, and because the Black community shouldn’t stand alone.
As lawyers, we are uniquely placed to recognize and fight against the systemic injustices that have taken the lives of so many people of color. Through communication, advocacy, and action, the WWL recognizes that it can and must call out and fight the shameful legacy of oppression that slavery and racism continues to have on the legal system. The WWL exists to advocate for the full integration of women into the legal profession, and to promote equal rights and opportunities for all women. So long as our Black members are made to confront racism in the communities, organizations, and institutions in which they live and work, and to feel unsafe and unheard while pursuing their lives and vocations, our goal is not met.
Now is the time to truly listen, to be vulnerable, to sit uncomfortably in painful truths, and to be an ally for change.
Black lives matter.
Say their names.
The WWL is committed to doing more than issue a statement. We encourage members of the legal community to consider taking the following steps:
State Board President
Washington Women Lawyers
wwl.org | firstname.lastname@example.org