SBA releases statement regarding George Floyd death and fighting injustice

Dear fellow students, faculty, and staff,

Today, we are deeply disappointed to write this statement. As representatives of our student body, we are disturbed by the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Police brutality is part of a systematic injustice black people face every day. We cannot sit by in silence.

We may be known as advocates for the environment, but I believe we are future lawyers who will rise up to face any injustice. Our school stands on the right side of justice.

The Student Bar Association supports and encourages our students to speak up, protest against racism, and fight for black lives. Whether you decided to attend a demonstration or have spoken out against this horrific injustice via an online platform, we are proud of you. We are proud to be Swans.

In Constitutional Law, we read U.S. v. Cruikshank (1876), the forgotten case, which protected and normalized race-based violence in American law. Martha T. McCluskey who wrote “Facing the Ghost of U.S. v. Cruikshank,” stated: “In Ferguson and beyond, news reports of suspicious deaths of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of race-conscious state authority persist as a predictable reality smoothly coinciding with a constitutional jurisprudence that claims to embrace principles of negative liberty and colorblind formal equality.”

Today, we continue to face the same horror due to systematic racism built into the core of American history.

The writer also clearly pointed out that “legal education tends to perpetuate injustice by teaching that law cannot change anything important and substantive in society, except perhaps in the margins.” We must demand change, not just in the margins, but at the heart of the entire system that continues to protect race-based violence.

As we become leaders in the legal community we must demand change in the system, use our roles in the legal community to stand against racial injustice, and hold political leaders accountable.

We may find ourselves frustrated and disappointed in this fight, but we cannot let those moments stop us. We can accomplish much more standing together than standing alone. The Student Bar Association stands with you.

“I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I am for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”

-Malcolm X

Heather Francis, SBA President

Nicole Adelman, VP of Student Affairs & Operations

Ricardo J.J. Edwards Jr., VP of Student Activities

Blake A. Weinard, Parliamentarian

Catherina Narigon, Secretary

Heidi Guenther, Treasurer


Books to read:

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarcertation in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk About Racism by Robin J. DiAngelo
Becoming by Michelle Obama
How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (not offered by library)
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (not offered by library)
The Color of Law: the forgotten history of how our government segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Are you Bingeing movies and shows? Watch these:

Becoming, Michelle Obama
Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap
When They See Us
Dear White People

Just Mercy
The Hate U Give

Published with permission from SBA President Heather Francis

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