Following the brutal, senseless killing of George Floyd last year, we at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia unequivocally affirmed the obvious: that Black Lives Matter, and renewed our commitment to stand in solidarity with those speaking out, peacefully demonstrating, and demanding a country and a society that will treat every one of its residents with dignity and respect.
And today, while still feeling grief and outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death, we believe that justice and accountability have been rightfully served with a conviction for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer.
To be sure, no one can undo what was tragically done to Mr. Floyd. And we cannot lose sight of the ongoing epidemic of police brutality that has claimed the lives of countless other Black and Brown men and women in communities across the country. There was no outcome in Mr. Chauvin’s trial that alone could solve the tremendous challenges we face. What we can do - and must do - is to continue challenging America’s long and despicable history of systemic racism. We must continue standing together and standing up for one another to break the behavioral patterns that include racial profiling, discriminatory treatment, and, only too often, the use of violence by law enforcement when engaging with people of color.
Here at Legal Aid, we know that it is not enough to just do good, anti-poverty work, but that we must also pursue an anti-racist agenda by looking hard within ourselves and our organization, challenging our own biases, and working to build enduring alliances with the communities we serve and with our clients who struggle against racism every day. We are taking the steps to do the hard work that is required, and we hope that you will join us.