A Statement from Chesapeake Legal Alliance Leadership
A true democracy relies on equal application of the law and the fair administration of justice. Systemic racism in this country, however, results in the inconsistent and unjust application of our nation’s laws to Black and Brown people. In the aftermath of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Monika Diamond, and countless others throughout the history of our nation, it has become abundantly clear that our justice system is failing Black and Brown Americans. As lawyers, and as fellow humans, we must work to end this injustice; silence is not an option.
Chesapeake Legal Alliance (CLA) stands in solidarity with those who are fighting the hate and bigotry that plagues our society.
For those in our community who are hurting, we see you and we stand with you in fighting for justice and equity.
For those who seek to be allies, we urge you to take action to address the long-standing challenges racism weaves through society as a whole, including the environmental movement. True environmentalism doesn’t exist without racial & social justice; they are inextricably linked.
Today, as an organization, CLA takes the Intersectional Environmentalist Pledge:*
- We will stand in solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and POC communities and the planet.
- We will not ignore the intersections of environmentalism and social justice.
- We will use our collective privilege to advocate for Black and Brown lives in spaces where this message is often silenced.
- We will proactively do the work to learn about environmental and social injustices Black, Indigenous, and POC communities face without minimizing them.
- We will respect the boundaries of Black, Indigenous, and POC friends and activists, and not demand they perform emotional labor or do the work for us.
- We will share our learning with other environmentalists in our community.
- We will amplify the messages of Black, Indigenous, and POC activists and environmental leaders.
- We will not remain silent during pivotal political and cultural moments that impact Black, Indigenous, and POC communities.
We invite you to join us in this commitment.
Russell Stevenson Eliza Smith Steinmeier David Reed
Chairman of the Board Co-Executive Director Co-Executive Director
*The Intersectional Environmental Pledge was created by Leah Thomas
P.S. Our work does not end here, however. It is easy to point at other cultures and call them ‘broken’– for their poverty, for their historic disadvantages, for their oppression, and for their inequality. But it’s time for us to look in the mirror and confront the uncomfortable truths about the broken culture in OUR country. This reckoning can only begin in earnest by owning our implicit bias and taking active steps towards change. In the coming months, we will be sharing all the ways in which Chesapeake Legal Alliance is implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) initiatives in our work and our organizational culture.
How can you be part of the solution?
- Start with yourself. Do your own internal reflection and assessment with an implicit bias test.
- Check out anti-racist resources, like this one. You will find a list of books, films, social media accounts, podcasts and other resources.
- Donate to organizations fighting for racial and social justice. Find a long list of opportunities here.
- Patronize Black-owned businesses and restaurants in your area.
- Make sure you are registered to vote.