Black Lives Matter: A Statement of Solidarity
June 2, 2020, San Francisco—Black Lives Matter. The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) stand in solidarity with all who demand justice and an end to police violence.
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are only the most recent tragedies in a long history of racism, injustice, and violence. To honor their lives, we must act. We cannot stand by as law enforcement fails to protect people and President Trump incites violence on social media and from the White House lawn.
If we have learned anything from COVID-19, it is that we are only as safe as the least protected members of our community. Yet, tragically, the pandemic has not slowed, but stoked, racist rhetoric and actions. From racist attacks on Asian Americans since the start of the coronavirus outbreak to 911 calls designed to threaten the lives of African Americans and the loss of lives at the hands of police, communities of color are facing the dual, disproportionate threats of the public health crisis and racial violence.
As lawyers, it is our job to protect constitutional rights. We echo Governor Newsom’s sentiment that “the black community is not responsible for what's happening in this country right now, we are.” As institutions, organizations, businesses and individuals, we must do the difficult work to detect and dismantle systemic racism.
Bar Associations like BASF are well positioned to lead in this area. BASF’s Criminal Justice Task Force was formed five years ago in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, which drew nationwide attention to issues of fairness in the criminal justice system. Since then, taskforce members have worked to rewrite the police use-of-force policy, researched and advocated against the use of Tasers, weighed in on a statewide effort to reform the bail system, and helped shape the anti-bias policing measures which were just unanimously approved by the San Francisco Police Commission.
It is part of our mission to work towards constructive change in society and to seek fairness and equality for all. We ask our members and supporters to join us. As lawyers, we need to step up and help shape a future that is just and safe for all.
The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) advances fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession. JDC is the largest legal services providers in San Francisco. JDC’s programs serve approximately 9,500 disadvantaged San Franciscans a year, with the overarching goal of assisting the community’s most vulnerable members with accessing the judicial system and strengthening their personal, professional, and economic security.
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.