We Are Listening To the Painful Truths Of Racial Injustice: A Joint Statement From NCAJ Leaders

From NCAJ President Vernon Sumwalt and NCAJ Executive Director Kim Crouch

Our eyes, like yours, are watching through tears as the grief, frustration and anger of the oppressed spill into the streets of our cities. Our hearts, like yours, are breaking over the senseless deaths, the continuing pain and the gaping wounds caused by the institutional racism and inequity America has too long embraced.

As our nation and our communities continue to bear witness to the difficult truths that must be told, we want you to know that NCAJ is listening. We are here to help in any way that we can. And after the glass is swept up and the streets are quiet, NCAJ will continue to listen and continue to work to right the wrongs that have led us to this time of reckoning.

Justice is not just in our name. It is our heart. We protect people, prevent injustice and promote fairness. The ideal of liberty and justice for all is not a platitude. It is our nation’s North Star. We know it will take honest and frank dialogue to move our justice system closer to this ideal.

As NCAJ members, we have a long history of being the light in the darkness of our cases and causes. We can rely on this history as well as the recent progress of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which has unveiled inequities within our own organization and our profession, to guide us. We will continue to promote the legislative and judicial leaders who can help us through the changes we must make to break the cycle of injustice we all live in. Tough times require tough decisions.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate toll it is taking on the African American community compounds these struggles. We might not be able to literally embrace one another as we would if the cautions of contagion did not constrain us. But nothing can keep us from doing the right things in the right way for the right reasons. If you remember one thing, remember that we are all accountable for injustice. We can solve it together.

At NCAJ, we build champions — champions of equality, of social justice and of civil rights. We can do this for a more perfect union.

We can do this.

Together.

Vernon Sumwalt NCAJ President

Kim Crouch NCAJ Executive Director

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