I grieve for George Floyd with the rest of the world. I am sad and angry, but not surprised. I grieve for the fact that this is not an isolated incident, but the latest in a long, reprehensible history of violence against Black people in America, which includes Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and stretches back to Emmett Till and beyond. I grieve not only for this most heinous form of racist violence, but also for the myriad ways institutional racism has denied Black people equal access to housing, employment, education, healthcare, the franchise, treatment under the law, and of course liberty itself.
I know that progress happens not only in beautiful acts of unity, but also in fractured, tragic moments like this one.
I believe that sunlight is a powerful disinfectant. One contrast between the horrible acts of past centuries and the horrible acts of today is the volume of incontrovertible evidence. Things that were disputable no longer are. There will be more illuminations of injustice, each one excruciating but each one advancing us closer to a reality in which our Black communities are not subjected to these acts. This evidence, these cracks in the armor of ignorance, force Americans to reckon with ugly truths, and those truths will change society slowly but surely.
Evidence comes in many forms, whether through bystander videos, FOIA requests, or analyses of institutional policies and communications that reveal systemic bias. Limited resources often inhibit full use of this evidence and, without it, justice can be, and has been, denied.
Injustice must be fought on an even playing field. I hope we can help balance this equation. Our Everlaw for Good program provides dozens of nonprofits, pro bono programs, investigative journalists, and educators free access to the Everlaw platform to sift through digital evidence. We are doubling down on our efforts to reach out to everyone who fights for civil rights to offer our support and service. There is plenty of work to be done and plenty of evidence yet to discover to dismantle the infrastructure of institutional racism. Please reach out to us if you or someone you know could benefit from using Everlaw to this end for free.
I’m aware that this contribution is only a small aspect of an enormous task, and that it’s only one part of our own obligation, which also includes working with our community and looking inward to reinforce our own commitments and programs around diversity and inclusion. The anger and frustration we’re experiencing is immediate, but driving long-term change will require sustained energy, action, and focus. I know that countless civil rights leaders have worked incredibly hard across generations to achieve the progress made to date, and that it will take years, if not decades, of continued work across many domains and disciplines to fully address the problem of institutional racism. I believe that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. I also know that it doesn’t bend on its own. That’s on us to do.