Statement in Solidarity and Commitment to Racial Justice—Black Lives Matter
Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) joins the Black community in grieving the losses of Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, and Tony McDade, who were recently murdered by law enforcement; Ahmaud Arbery, who was callously murdered by white supremacists aided by a state cover up; and David McAtee and James Scurlock, who were murdered while protesting the sustained police terrorization of Black communities.
They are only some of the latest Black bodies to die at the hands of white supremacy. This violence is a direct result of the systemic racism that has plagued this nation’s shameful history of oppression towards people of African descent. No parent should ever have to bury a child because of police violence or white supremacy. No society should ever stand by while community members are killed and maimed by white supremacist forces acting in our alleged name. We stand firmly in solidarity with the families of the deceased and the larger Black community. We join the national call to end widespread police violence and white supremacy. We condemn the ongoing state-sanctioned terror as a despicable and an unacceptable response to this call. We are committed to listening, being humble and forever changed, and doing all that we can to defeat racism and bigotry in all forms.
As legal advocates, we recognize both the privilege and the obligation that our role represents. We recognize that Black people are dealt a very different standard of justice—from policing to access to housing, education and employment to mass incarceration—and that Black lives are systematically oppressed by the unjust legal system in which we operate. We recognize that racism and white supremacy is entrenched in every aspect of our society. We vow to continue working alongside our clients, who know that our legal system is biased, as we press for the systemic change necessary to achieve a more just, equitable, and inclusive legal system. We vow to challenge the societal prejudices and racist power structures that impede the path towards liberation for all oppressed people. And, above all else, we vow to continue fighting for racial justice, equity, and liberation in recognition that none of us is truly free until the very last one of us achieves freedom. We have a long way to go.
Rest in Peace and Power: Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Monterrosa, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, James Scurlock, Denzil Dowell, Melvin Black, Rodney King, Gary King Jr., Philando Castile, Nina Pop, Anita Gay, Kayla Moore, Oscar Grant, Aiyanna Jones, Michael Brown, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnson, John Crawford, Richard Perez III, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, and the countless other Black people and People of Color who have been brutalized and lost their lives to police violence, white supremacy, and other forms of hate and oppression.
We stand ready to support and in partnership with all who are deeply committed to justice and love.
Black Lives Matter.
Bay Area Legal Aid
Our further statement on April 13, 2021 can be found here.