As a law firm, as Americans, and as human beings, we are sickened by George Floyd's brutal and senseless murder. Yet, tragically, we are not surprised. The former federal public defenders and assistant United States attorney among us know all too well the enormous, pervasive, and cruel role that institutionalized racism plays in shaping our criminal justice system, from policing through charging decisions, trial, and sentencing. Our civil rights litigators have witnessed how unnecessarily long and traumatic the path can be for those seeking redress in the courts. It is time to acknowledge that, although we have fought to give voice to our clients, we have done too little to change the paradigms that have rendered them voiceless. Today, we write to express our solidarity with the protesters around the world who are risking their health and safety to demand change. We believe, firmly, that the change they seek is just, righteous, and far too long overdue. We join them in demanding an end to the murder of people of color in police custody. We join them in laying bare the truth of systemic racial injustice: it is the collective product of each of our individual actions, and thus, it is our individual responsibility to act.
Though we write today in tribute and in solidarity, words are not enough. We are committed to change, in concrete and meaningful ways. Today our commitments include:
- assisting with local efforts to expand access to litigation against police misconduct;
- making financial contributions to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and Dignity and Power Now, a grassroots organization dedicated to justice and healing for those negatively impacted by law enforcement's use of force;
- representing, including on a pro bono basis, protestors and those charged with curfew violations;
- continuing to hire and promote diverse lawyers and staff;
- supporting minority-owned small businesses as vendors and experts to help us grow our business and provide the best possible client representation; and
- supporting the election, appointment, and/or promotion of anti-racist and reform-focused legislators, politicians, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges.
Through these initiatives, CW pledges to continue listening and doing our part in building a more just and equitable legal system.