We grieve the death of George Floyd and of all those who have been killed or victimized by police.
Too often such violence makes headlines and stirs outrage only for the system to return to business as usual. That cannot happen again. The anger being expressed in protests around the country and world has been building for a very long time; let us seize this moment as an opportunity to listen, amplify voices, and implement meaningful reform.
Every day, the Center for Court Innovation sees the damage wrought by racism. Our staff and clients of color experience racism firsthand. Our communities suffer disproportionately from an unfair justice system, poverty, housing insecurity, unemployment, and poor health outcomes, including the devastating impact of COVID-19. Ultimately, all of these problems are rooted in systemic racism that has denied people of color their rights, dignity, and even basic necessities. These harms are grievous and deep; those who have not experienced them, cannot fully understand them.
The fight against racism is inseparable from the Center for Court Innovation’s mission to create a fair, effective, and humane justice system. The Center is committed to anti-racism and fights racism in all forms.
The history of racism in the United States runs deep, stretching from the attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples and the taking of their land to the institution of slavery to police brutality. While progress has been made toward racial justice—in both the criminal justice system and society at large—it is not enough.
We are reminded daily of the unequal treatment of people of color: the murders of Black and brown people at the hands of police; the nation’s high incarceration rate, which disproportionately impacts people of color; the policies and biases that fuel the ugly fact that Black, Latinx, and Native American people are more likely than whites to be arrested, convicted, and experience lengthy prison sentences.
Bias is often subtle, hiding behind a fact pattern that can appear race-neutral to some but does, in fact, impact and harm people of color disproportionately. Whether the bias is overt or unconscious, it has a profound effect not just on how justice is administered (or denied) but on the key pillars of society, from education and housing, to employment and everyday interactions.
We acknowledge that arduous and transformative work lies ahead. We don’t know all the next steps, but we commit ourselves to a new vision of justice, one that is fair, effective, and humane.
Consistent with our model of reform, we will work both outside of and in partnership with government to promote lasting structural change, serving as a bridge between local communities and the very system we seek to transform. We will honor the memories of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Eric Garner, and the countless other victims of police brutality by helping to create a society that is built on dignity, respect, trust, healing, and transparency. We must use all of our strength to bring about the lasting change we want to see.