Guided by our mission to oppose discrimination, bigotry, and oppression of minority and diverse groups, it is incumbent upon us to speak up and take action when our Black brothers and sisters are the target of extrajudicial killings.
The recent death of George Floyd has left us raw and struggling for words. But we will not be silent. Like the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the countless others, known and unknown, this most recent act of violence stains the fabric of our society and the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. Admittedly, for far too long, this promise has been unfilled for people of color who endure systemic racism and violence at the hands of those who devalue their lives. As attorneys, it is our duty to shine light on, and to address, the racial inequities in the justice system and in the broader society. We must lift the veil and recognize the harsh reality that for centuries, both explicit and implicit biases have played an active role in the degradation of our constitutional principles that demand equal justice for all.
Ultimately, words are not enough, and they never will be. So we are taking concrete actions too.
First, we will partner with affinity bar organizations to encourage our members to provide pro bono legal services aimed at police reform, bail reform, and legal reform. Second, we will be offering an ongoing CLE series, free of charge, to foster a conversation with every aspect of federal practice that touches on issues of race, policing, and explicit and implicit biases, including panel discussions among federal law enforcement agencies, the Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Probation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Public Defender, academics, practitioners, community-based organizations, and others. Third, we will continue to look for new ways to shine light on, and address, the issues of racism and violence in our society, their effects on persons of color, and their intersection with federal practice.
Our hearts go out to the family members of George Floyd, as they grieve the loss of a loved one, and to so many others who, on a daily basis, must endure the injustices of racism. We remain diligent in ensuring that our goal of diversity and inclusion is not a mere aspiration, but is attainable, tangible, and immediate.
*Board members with judicial and other governmental positions did not participate in the issuance of this statement.
LGBTQ Judges Discuss Experiences in Pride Month Event
Five openly LGBTQ judges from different backgrounds and experiences offer insight into their lives before and after appointment to the federal bench in a new U.S. Courts video released in observance of Pride Month. (Video below)
The panel participants are District Judge Darrin P. Gayles, Southern District of Florida (left); District Judge Judith E. Levy, Eastern District of Michigan; District Judge Robert L. Pitman, Western District of Texas; Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu, Northern District of California; and District Judge Staci M. Yandle, Southern District of Illinois.
The Charter for this Chapter was granted on December 2, 1959.
The first meeting of the South Florida Chapter was held August 27, 1959.
SOUTH FLORIDA CHAPTER