CNYWBA statement: Black Lives Matter

The CNYWBA stands alongside and offers its full support to the Central New York youth and adults who are marching, rallying, and protesting in opposition to police violence and systemic racism. This conspicuous and persistent public opposition to police violence and racism has resulted in long overdue conversations and legislation. Recently, New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore named a chair to lead the New York Justice Task Force in examining racial disparities in the criminal justice system. More recently, the Governor of New York signed policing reform legislation touching on critical issues including transparency, accountability, use-of-force policies, and the right of detained individuals.

We acknowledge that from the founding of our nation our system of laws has been built on racist, classist, gendered constructs, the result of which created the unequal system in which we as attorneys currently practice. We challenge ourselves to examine our own roles as attorneys and as an organization participating in systems that perpetuate racism and inequality. As we continue discussions within our membership and listen to critical outside voices, we are actively working toward an action plan that will better define our role in this reckoning, and identify objectives and partnerships through which we can lend meaningful assistance. We acknowledge that many suffragettes, who are regularly lauded for their actions to bring votes to women, did not include all women in their efforts, and with this history in mind, we pledge to stand for and alongside our Black and Indigenous colleagues and community members who are disproportionately affected by criminal and civil systems that were never designed to be equal and which have continued to burden people of color. Black Lives Matter.