Statement on Racial Justice
The Colorado Bar Association (CBA) is incensed by and grieves the continued brutalization and murders of Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC). Our previous statement condemning these acts of racial injustice and taking a stand in solidarity with the Sam Cary Bar Association (SCBA), as well as our equity, diversity, and inclusivity work over the last several years in particular, has provided us with a strong foundation from which to build. But we are committed and energized to do more. We must press forward in our fight to end systemic racism that persists throughout Colorado and our country. We must eradicate racism in the workplace, the justice system, the healthcare system, and all of our social systems.
As licensed lawyers, each of us swore to an oath to use our knowledge of the law and our training for the betterment of society and the improvement of the legal system. We also swore to never reject the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed.
We are attorneys and leaders in our communities. We are in a uniquely powerful position to educate, empower, and effect change to end systemic racism and any form of discrimination against oppressed and marginalized people. We believe that Colorado, as well as our country, is at a pivotal point in the need for collective action to advance racial equality. The demand for change and progress broadly spans race, gender, and generations.
Now is our time for collective action.
The CBA has amended its 2016 and 2019 mission and value statements to reflect our commitment to the eradication of systemic racism, discrimination, and any other form of injustice against underrepresented groups. Within these statements, the CBA reaffirms that it values equity, diversity, and inclusion and will work to remove barriers to success within the CBA and the greater Colorado community. We acknowledge that serious work must be undertaken to fulfill the dedication to our mission and values, and commit to take continuous and ongoing action to do so. Our sworn duty will not end with the completion of a few tasks.
In furtherance of our revised mission and values, the CBA has taken the following immediate actions:
1. In partnership with the SCBA, implementation of an ongoing video series called LEADS: Lawyers Engaged About Diversity and Solidarity. This video series will be available to Colorado lawyers and to the general public. The series’ initial topics will include at least the following:
- Anti-racism and implicit bias
- Workplace policies and procedures that promote equity, diversity, and inclusivity
- “Know your Rights” videos including
- Fourth Amendment considerations/police powers and limitations
- First Amendment considerations and free speech
- Employees’ lawful off-duty conduct and protestor rights
2. Promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusivity in all CBA leadership positions, and significant enhancements to the leadership application process
3. Encouragement to our members and sections to support social justice organizations with both their time and their donations
4. Enhanced communication and promotion of our members’ efforts to address systemic racism
5. Meaningful work to ensure greater diversity within the judiciary, including through ongoing work with the Diversity on the Bench coalition
6. Continued promotion and support of the work of the 2019 Joint Steering Committee to implement the CBA’s and Denver Bar Association’s Governance and Leadership Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Action Plan
We know that these issues were not created, and will not be fully remediated in a week, month, or even a year. We know that our immediate steps are not sufficient to solve these significant problems. The CBA commits to continual action intended to eradicate systemic racism and the oppression of marginalized people. We value the diversity of humanity and stand together to reject all forms of racism, hatred, discrimination, and oppression. We stand in solidarity with BIPOC and those marginalized by our society and our government. Finally, we pledge to be leaders in our community on these important issues.
The CBA encourages all of its members to take up the mantle for racial justice, through pro bono efforts, charitable giving, and community service that directly or indirectly impacts racial justice issues. Attorneys who wish to be involved can actively seek opportunities to partner with various government, non-profit organizations, and citizen groups to address these issues in a substantial and systemic way. Colorado lawyers must play a meaningful role in changing our world for the better and finally making good on the promise of “equal justice for all.”