Letter to the Editor ...

Straker Bar Association stands against institutionalized racism

To the editor:

The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association reaffirms its commitment to stand against institutionalized racism and abject racial bigotry in this country. In light of the recent horrifying and unjust killing of George Floyd by a white Minnesota police officer, Straker is compelled to issue this statement to condemn racism in all of its insidious forms, especially the inhumane treatment of African Americans.

Our organization not only strives for greater representation of African Americans in the legal profession, we are also dedicated to our community. At the heart of our pledge for justice, we are devoted to obliterating violence perpetrated against black people. The increased violence against African Americans by law enforcement and others throughout the United States, including the recent violent attacks in Minnesota, Georgia, Kentucky, New York, Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin, and our own state of Michigan, must end! We are called to do more than just strive for equality in the courts. We must collectively renew our commitment to the preservation of basic human rights for all.

Indeed, as Thurgood Marshall so eloquently put it nearly three decades ago:

“We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away… We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.”

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are resisting racial injustice and peacefully protesting the abuse of power that is decimating black communities throughout the nation. We denounce all violence towards communities of color and we call on our membership to mobilize at this critical time in our country’s history. Collectively, we cannot and will not sit idly by while our people are senselessly killed in the streets. We must act now to protect our civil rights and the bounds of human decency. Our country and the freedom it promises each of us depends on it.

The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association is committed to working closely with the National Bar Association’s Police Misconduct And Justice Task Force and supporting the effort to investigate police misconduct cases, support victims, lawyers, communities, and our coalition partners, and develop recommendations for structural and institutional change.

The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association commends leaders like Detroit Police Chief James Craig for his vocal criticism of police brutality and systemic racism. We demand that our law enforcement commits to protecting and serving all citizens and holding those who do not accountable.

As our very own Crusader for Justice, the Honorable Judge Damon J. Keith taught us that “democracy dies in the dark.” Together, let us be the light that exposes injustice, reveals truth, and restores the equality promised to all of us.

Kimberley Ann Ward, Esq., on behalf of the Board of Directors
D. Augustus Straker Bar Association


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