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Judicial Department Aims to Ensure Racial Justice
And coronavirus makes white supremacy worse in Oregon apparently

The State of Oregon Judicial Department released a statement when the Portland riots were just beginning. They suggest it was to address the death of George Floyd, and to ensure the public they would have an aim to ensure "racial justice" in Oregon.

But isn't justice best served without regard to wealth, power, skin color or other status?

"We write to address the death of George Floyd–a tragedy that has been repeated too often. At the time of Mr. Floyd’s death, our nation already was reeling from the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and many others before them.Those deaths have had a tremendous impact on all of us, but especially on our colleagues, family, and friends from communities of color, who experienced them on a very personal level.

We acknowledge the pain, trauma, anger, and frustration that has resulted from the tragedy of the recent week and that has been felt by the Black community and other communities of color.We understand that many in the judicial branch and throughout the legal community are struggling to process what is happening and trying to figure out what to do.We may wonder if the very core of what we do, as arbiters of justice and officers of the court, is being called into question.

As members of the judicial branch, we are cautious –always careful not to prejudge situations.But we cannot ignore the risks that African Americans, Blacks, and other people of color face as each day dawns.The urgency for action has long been upon us, but the immediacy of the need is even more apparent today.We must ensure that the lives of African Americans, Blacks, and people of color are valued and respected and that the color of peoples’ skin does not affect their rights to justice or the treatment they are afforded by our system of justice.

In facing up to that responsibility, we must recognize that we, in Oregon, are subject to the same prejudices as others throughout this country.Oregon entered statehood steeped in racial discrimination, and it is still with us –from Black exclusion laws in the 1800s, to the common presence of the KKK in the 1900s, to the effects of redlining that continue today.Communities of color throughout this state, in both urban and rural settings, continue to experience inequality that has only been compounded by the coronavirus.

Our courts are an integral part of the justice system and have an essential role to play in ensuring justice for all.We must stand firm against racism and oppression.We must be intentional in our efforts to move in a different direction.We must examine our individual thoughts and beliefs, as well as our professional approaches, processes, and environments to address the impact of our own biases.

We must examine, a new ,what we are doing, or failing to do, to root out conscious and unconscious bias in our legal system."

The full letter can be seen here

--Ben Fisher

Post Date: 2020-09-07 07:44:58Last Update: 2020-09-07 08:38:40

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