Note: Since George Floyd's death in police custody on May 25, the public outcry over racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism has spread to cities and towns across the United States and the world. His funeral marks another turning point, the end of the beginning, as the mass movement demanding justice in his name gains momentum.
On behalf of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd, and to the Minneapolis community in which he lived and died.
Our sympathy also extends to other victims of racially motivated violence across the country (Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Eric Garner, to name a few), including in cases that haven’t made the national news. As Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his April 1963 Letter from the Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
We call on top leaders at the US Department of Justice to move aggressively to ensure that justice is done in the Floyd case and all such cases, and that equality before the law—a bedrock principle of this nation—is upheld now and in the future.
We’d also like to add our collective voice to those calling for reform of our justice system, including law enforcement practices that unfairly target communities of color in the United States. The time for change is now.
While appealing for calm on the streets of our cities, we recognize that people are hurting. Americans deserve a system of justice that works for everyone, in which all people are guaranteed equal protections under the law—and protected from racial, ethnic, or religious bias in the enforcement of those laws.
Clearly, this is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.
In times like these, Americans have traditionally relied on institutions to provide a level of constancy and forward momentum, to keep us from losing our way.
The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity is such an institution, made up of the nation’s top corporate general counsel and law firm managing partners—leaders who are committed to the ideals of equality and justice in American society, and to the advancement of underrepresented talent in our organizations.
Even in this extraordinary time, we will continue to make progress toward fulfilling our mission: to make the US legal profession as diverse as the nation it serves. As recent events have shown, our work has never been more important—or more urgent.
We pray that our great nation emerges from this challenge as a stronger and more just society. Our commitment to that goal is unshakeable.
Leadership. Action. Results.