The Memphis Bar Association has issued the following statement:
“We all have a responsibility to create a just society…” –Bryan Stevenson
Lawyers have a duty to effect change in the face of societal ills, systemic injustice, unfairness, racial disparity, and all forms of discrimination. The current political climate, with cities burning and hundreds of thousands of people around the world protesting these injustices in the face of a global pandemic, has divested us of the ability to turn a blind eye to issues that have plagued our society for centuries.
The death of George Floyd has brought to the forefront issues that many of us may have been aware of, while being unaware of the depth of, the problem we face. We have been charged with upholding the law, and we have a responsibility to step in and address circumstances that conflict with everything for which we vowed to stand. We must not only denounce racial and societal injustices, but we also have a duty to act.
Lawyers have been agents of change throughout history, working to end legal discrimination, to stop legal segregation, to exonerate the wrongfully incarcerated, and to codify the right to vote for minorities. Now is the time for us to serve as we vowed, as change agents for the current issues plaguing our country. The Memphis Bar Associated is committed to doing so—using the power vested in us as lawyers to ensure that systemic discrimination and injustice finally meet their long overdue end.”
Earlier this week, the Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association issued a press release, which can be found here. The Chapter is also seeking attorneys to represent peaceful protestors in matters such as disorderly conduct, obstructing roadway, resisting arrest, inciting riot, assault, or vandalism on a pro bono basis. Prior criminal experience is not required but volunteers need to be licensed in Tennessee and in good standing. To volunteer, click here.