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Arizona Law Family,
 
We are living history, multiple times over.
 
But the brutal murder of George Floyd is not just a moment in history. It is personal, and terrifying.

This isn't the first time we've heard a Black man say, "I can't breathe," before dying at the hands of police.
 
And it isn't just police: this was not the first video we've seen this year where a Black man was killed and his race is the reason. 

There are many social justice leaders and thoughtful commentators trying to make sense of the pain of this moment and calling for justice. 

Public and private figures from all walks of life have stepped forward and stepped up to seize the moment, help us all understand what we have seen and are seeing, and strive for justice. I found Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's commentary striking.

There are vast numbers of people on the streets around our country, and abroad, who are screaming in pain. Who are demanding change.
 
We join with those voices.

Among the statements from our hearts here at Arizona Law is one issued by the executive boards of the Black Law Student Association and the Student Bar Association. 

We have posted the statement from these student groups to our college news site.

I fully welcome and endorse this statement, and I encourage you to read it carefully, here and below. 
   
As a law school, we can, must, and will do and say more about systemic racism, racially motivated violence, inequality, police brutality, and elevating historically oppressed voices. We must confront not just this moment, but the centuries-long history of Black people suffering violence from individuals and institutions in power.
 
We welcome the invitation to work closely with BLSA and our entire community to nurture a deep and sustained conversation in the year ahead that prompts meaningful change. 

We had already planned for major civil rights speakers this fall. Among other steps, we will also focus the sessions hosted by our Program on Criminal Law and Policy on policing after the killing of George Floyd. We are committed to listening, to learning, to doing more.
 
Here at the University of Arizona, students, staff, faculty, and alumni have cried out.

The UA Native American Law Students Association and the Latino Law Student Association offer their voices of solidarity, below.  


I write this  Letter of the Law with sorrow, and with a heavy sense of the responsibility we bear as a law school and university.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."  --  Martin Luther King Jr.

We will not be silent. 

Black Lives Matter.
 
I write now, kneeling, with hope against history, and with intense awareness of the enduring challenge to us as teachers, students, scholars, and lawyers.

Peace,
 


 
Joint Statement from UA Black Law Students Association & Student Bar Association on the Death of George Floyd, Ongoing Protests


Arizona Law community, friends, and allies:
We at Arizona Law BLSA and SBA are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Like so many others, we have seen the sickening video images of Mr. Floyd pleading for his life as a police officer casually, and cruelly, knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. Along with the rest of America, and the world, we heard him crying "I can't breathe" as he died in the street. We believe that this is a clear example of police brutality, and that it certainly is not the first: The deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and so many others, echo throughout this tragedy. Too often in America, the lives of people of color have appeared to matter less than those of other Americans. We reject this racist, false, and dangerous characterization of human life. Instead, we make this our declaration:
BLACK LIVES MATTER. And George Floyd's life mattered.
We believe that the police should have made every attempt to ensure that he survived their encounter. That didn't happen. And the fact that it didn't happen is a national tragedy, and a national disgrace. Our prayers go out to the Floyd family, and to George's friends. We feel your loss, as if it were our own, and join you in your solemn call for JUSTICE.
In America, our society is premised on the undeniable, self-evident truth that all men and women are created equal; that all of us are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Too often, however, this eternal promise has rung hollow for communities and people of color. From slavery, to Jim Crow-era segregation, to modern-day institutionalized racism, America has never fulfilled the promise of equal justice to people of color in this country.
Since time immemorial, the American Dream has played out more like a nightmare for racial and ethnic minorities. Since time immemorial, black Americans have been unable to breathe free under the stifling boot of racism. This reality is unacceptable. As responsible, justice-loving Americans, we must demand change. We urge the people of this country to not let George Floyd's death fade into the morass of history. Rather, we call for this tragedy to lead to a new awakening - to a new call for racial justice and tangible, institutional reform in America.
We have been encouraged by the sight of the peaceful, intergenerational, and multiracial protests occurring in our country, and around the world. The sight of so many Americans, so many people, coming together to stand for equality gives us hope that we can progress forward in a positive, united direction. We would also like to recognize the responsible, professional law enforcement officers and agencies who protect our communities every day with pride and integrity, and who have spoken out against the injustice that Mr. Floyd suffered.
And while we certainly understand the anger and frustration felt by so many Americans, during this perfect storm of unrest, we implore that all protests across the country be peaceful, and that all protesters wear protective face coverings and engage in appropriate social distancing. We cannot allow the method of protest to overshadow the message of protest. This is the time to come together as one nation, to build the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, and not the time to burn, vandalize, and loot our communities. In the same vein, we also call for all of America's leaders - at the local, state, and national level - to spread messages of unity, peace, and solidarity, and not to fan the flames of division in our country. A nation is only as strong as its leadership, and we need strong leaders to help shepherd us through the tumultuous struggle for justice that lies ahead.
Finally, we urge our LawCat community to remain civilly active and informed. As prospective lawyers, who have been granted the privilege of a legal education, we have a sacred burden and a special responsibility in the fight for equal justice. We are the future advocates, future judges, future lawmakers, future innovators, and future leaders of our society. Indeed, in conferring our degrees upon us, our deans and professors are granting us tremendous, unrivaled power to effect positive change on society. As law students, and as future attorneys, we must answer the call of JUSTICE, whenever she rings. We must recognize that WE represent the change that we have been waiting for in society; that WE stand, almighty, in the eyes of history. Only then, can we bring Dr. King's prophecy to fruition and let JUSTICE roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.
We hope that each and every one of you is staying safe and healthy during this difficult time in our nation's history.  Let us stand for JUSTICE and equality together, as one community, that may never be torn asunder.
Sincerely,
The Executive Boards of the Black Law Students Association and the Student Bar Association at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Statement from the Native American Law Students Association

Dear UArizona Law community,
The Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) stands against racism. We stand with our fellow Black Law Student Association (BLSA) family and the entire African American community. The events over the past two weeks have been painful to watch. As law students and Native Americans, we fully support all who stand for a just and equal legal system, not one that entices or encourages violence. Statistics show African Americans and Native Americans suffer the highest rates of police brutality in the United States and live in fear of death and violence at the hands of law enforcement. Our communities are subject to use of excessive force and homicidal measures by police officers, often without repercussions.

As Americans, we need to educate ourselves, have more honest conversations and acknowledge that we have a lot of work to do to move toward a more equitable society, for ourselves and future generations. It is our sincere hope that this painful period of civil unrest will bring about the profound systemic changes that our communities so desperately need and deserve.

Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the family of George Floyd and the many others who have experienced similar losses. NALSA stands in solidarity with BLSA and the larger black community because Black Lives Matter .

In solidarity,

Native American Law Students Association,  The University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law
Statement from the Latino Law Student Association

The Latino Law Student Association (LLSA) at the James E. Rogers College of Law stands in solidarity with our fellow peers in the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) and the Black Lives Matter movement. We see you, we hear you, and we support you. We join you in your grief and in your fight.
 
Racial injustice has been a reality in this country for far too long. The deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dion Johnson, and George Floyd are only recent manifestations of the structural racism that disproportionately affects the black community. It is abhorrent that black lives are threatened and taken daily-that everyday activities like sleeping, exercising, or shopping needlessly escalate and result in tragic deaths. We cannot stand for the blatant disregard of black lives. Black lives are not disposable and those inflicting violence must be held accountable. Justice has no place for impunity.
 
This is a time of deep reflection-a time to consider the culture of anti-blackness perpetrated within our own culture. We cannot sit idle and we cannot stay silent. It would be unconscionable if we, at this time, allow our own biases to go unchecked, harming our brothers and sisters in struggle. We are committed to acknowledging our own privilege, holding our communities accountable, and being active in dismantling these systems. We urge the Latinx community to support the fight against police brutality and racially motivated killings in order to establish a just society, free of racial oppression. United we are stronger.
 
In solidarity, LLSA has donated a total of $100 to the Tucson Second Chance Community Bail Fund and the Black People's Justice Fund -- Metro Phoenix. At a time when our nation's leadership fails us, we cannot fail each other. We encourage our members, other Arizona Law student organizations, as well as the rest of the Tucson community to be active: donate to black activist groups, sign petitions, call upon elected officials, register to vote, become informed, and amplify the voices of those who are not heard.
 
¡Su lucha es nuestra lucha! Black Lives Matter.
 
In solidarity,
 
The LLSA Executive Board


 

 
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