The opinions expressed in entries in the LC Blog are those of the author, not of Lawyers Club of San Diego.
Over the last week, we have seen thousands of people take to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd and police brutality against people of color. Many have also challenged the systemic racism against people of color that have made the community more susceptible to the effects of COVID-19. In support of the protests, many individuals and organizations have issued well-intentioned statements. Although protesting and issuing statements of support are important, they are not enough to truly change systemic discrimination or the deprivation of the civil rights of the black community.
For example, the Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 and the first street demonstrations organized by Black Lives Matter took place in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 after the shooting of Michael Brown. Since that time, tragically, many more black men and women have died at the hands of law enforcement. In response to each of those deaths, many communities staged protests and community leaders issued statements of outrage and support. But, the unjustified deaths continue to occur and communities of color continue to be abused. As concerned members of the community, many ask what we can do to finally stop these abhorrent killings.
For real change to occur, we must take a comprehensive approach to resolve the systemic racism and unconscious bias that inexorably lead to more deaths of our black community members. We must educate ourselves on the racial disparities faced by people of color and the institutions that perpetuate those disparities, including the role of law enforcement and the justice system. We should also reflect on our own unconscious biases to be conscious of our own role in perpetuating or excusing racial disparities that exist for people of color. We must advocate for legislation in support of communities of color that is committed to addressing racial disparities in the justice system and other important social institutions. If we work together, we can finally create real change for our community.
Elvira Cortez practices business and commercial litigation and employment defense at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP and is the 2019-2020 president of Lawyers Club.