Last week in Minnesota, George Floyd, a Black man, died under the weight of white Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin who refused to remove his knee from Mr. Floyd’s neck despite multiple pleas from bystanders and Mr. Floyd’s plea that he could not breathe. His killing is a tragic and painful expression of the systemic racism and violence suffered by the Black community throughout this country, as well as right here at home in Pittsburgh.
It is the mission of the Women in the Law Division to confront discrimination against women in the legal profession in all its forms. In our efforts to confront discrimination, we must also stand up against the systems of oppression and discrimination against the Black community. We raise our voices and unite to demand change and justice. As Black women especially continue to be marginalized and face oppression, we are committed to being advocates for change and encourage our entire legal community to stand together and demand that racism, discrimination, and hatred have no place here.
The WLD has always and will always promote diversity and inclusivity for not only the legal profession but our broader community, as well. The WLD calls on our members to take action and work together to make our community a better place, to advocate for change, to speak out against racism in all forms, and to celebrate diversity and inclusion in every aspect of your lives.
In 1973, in her first Supreme Court appearance, then-attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg concluded her oral argument by quoting abolitionist Sarah Grimké’s words from 1837: “All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” That this powerful metaphor of past centuries speaks to the precise method by which a white police officer killed George Floyd, in 2020, highlights all the more the work that remains to be done. The WLD stands with those protesting for equality and justice and is committed to continuing to carry out this work.