“If the society today allows wrongs to go unchallenged, the impression is
created that those wrongs have the approval of the majority.”
Like many of you, I have been struggling with the horrific death of George
Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. He is certainly not the first
African-American to be killed by police, and if history proves us right, he won’t
be the last. The shock and horror of Mr. Floyd’s death has hit many of us as a
final straw in our never-ending battle against police misconduct and oppression
targeted at our communities. As I watched my thirteen-year old daughter make
posters to take to a non-violent protest march in our community, I was sickened
by the number of names that she wrote on her poster. The number of dead Black
people. Unfortunately, she would not be able to fit the real number on her
poster, the people she never heard about, the people whose deaths were not
captured on video for the world to witness.
As I help to mobilize my law firm in my role as National Chair of the Civil
Rights Practice Group to assist as many police victims as possible, and to fully
engage in the continued efforts to make systemic changes in how Black and
Brown people are policed, I am disheartened that the work of my predecessors
and mentors remains incomplete. As we move forward as a nation striving to
make this country a more perfect union, we need the white community to walk
with us in this battle against racism. Some of my white friends have been
completely silent on the murderous actions of these police officers, instead
choosing to weigh in solely on issues related to the protesters, particularly the
outliers who have resorted to looting and other property crimes. Buildings can
be rebuilt, but lives cannot be brought back from the dead. White people must
commit to being vigilant allies in eradicating racism and discrimination.
Let us all use these tragedies as a rallying call for civic and legal engagement.
Register voters, support candidates who are committed to ending racist policing,
vote in every election for every level of office from district attorneys, school
board members, mayors, senators and president, engage in your communities,
educate the public by writing articles highlighting the importance of the Constitution
in equally protecting all members of our society, write amicus briefs on
critical issues and provide expertise and mentorship to new lawyers.
We can make a difference together.
Tracey L. Brown