Bernstein Shur Statement Denouncing Racial Violence
Words. We, at Bernstein Shur make our living with words – writing things on behalf of our clients. We spend a lot of time on finding just the right words and just the right ideas. In this moment in history, the words to properly describe the enormous problems of structural and institutionalized racism in this country are much more difficult to come by.
As we search for words, we must first start by listening to the voices in our communities that are rising up to tell their stories.
We know that silence is complicity. We speak now to express our abhorrence of the institutional racism that resulted in George Floyd’s murder – and the long history of racial violence that came before it.
As officers of the Court and members of the bar, we take an oath to adhere to the rule of law, which is meant to protect all people, not provide protection to some and violence for others based on the color of their skin. We can no longer abide a system that turns a blind eye to state-sanctioned murder of unarmed People of Color, regardless of whether that murder is perpetuated by public officers or citizens purporting to act under the color of law.
As a firm, we have law enforcement officers as clients, friends, neighbors and family members, who honorably wear their badge. We are grateful to them for dedicating their lives to service. We cannot, however, allow our loyalty to these honorable men and women to silence our outrage over the steady stream of racial violence perpetrated against Black communities across America. This must stop.
We commit today to being anti-racist, to work to end anti-Black violence, to call out structural racism where we see it, and to work with our community partners to fight for meaningful and systemic change. Structural racism is so embedded in our communities that we name some of its many manifestations here to underscore the insidiousness of the problem. Structural racism shows up as:
- Disproportionality in the child welfare system;
- Health disparities in the health care system;
- Achievement gap in education;
- Disparate sentencing or disproportionate minority contact in the criminal justice system; and
- Underrepresentation of minority business enterprises in economic development.
Structural racism and the racial violence it empowers rob People of Color of their potential, their vitality, their safety and – too often – their lives. We stand with you today, we are listening, and we commit to work for meaningful change.