HALANY Response to Systemic Racism
PRESS RELEASE JUNE 15, 2020
The first half of the year has been cataclysmic. We are in the middle of a once in a generation pandemic. The U.S. economy all but collapsed in March. During these difficult times, the scourge of systemic racism continues to destroy black lives. On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while taking a jog by a white father and son, where the pair held themselves out as Mr. Arbery’s judge, jury and executioner, for the simple crime of exercising while black. On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, was fatally shot in her own home while police officers executed a no-knock search warrant. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was suffocated to death by a white police officer who knelt on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Mr. Floyd's death rightfully sparked outrage in the heart of not only black people, but amongst diverse communities in this nation. In the aftermath of Mr. Floyd's death, we have seen worldwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Just three days ago, on June 12, 2020, Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer while being apprehended at a Wendy’s drive-through. These are but four instances in a matter of months. Their names are now added to a somber list of people of color dying at the hands of law enforcement; that list includes Eleanor Bumpurs, Anthony Baez, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Sean Bell, Eric Garner and countless other names… and that’s just in New York City.
The Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York (HALANY) unequivocally condemns the systemic racism and abuse of power that we have witnessed over the last month. We identify with the peaceful protests in American streets and around the world. We support them wholeheartedly; their cause is our cause. Indeed, Haitians are no strangers to challenging the status quo and fighting for change. In 1804, our forefathers took on their oppressors and turned Haiti into the first free black republic in the Western hemisphere. We can achieve great things when we come together and say enough is enough. We understand the cry of our brothers and sisters who cry out, "I can't breathe!"
HALANY's membership consists of attorneys and future attorneys of color. The current convulsion in our society affects our members directly. We have to speak out in the face of injustice and inequity. And so we say, the color of our skin should not be a death sentence for us in this country. History has shown that we are not safe because of the color of our skin, not even from the very people who have sworn to uphold the law and to protect us.
HALANY will continue to fight to make sure that our society achieves true equality. As attorneys, we will work to uphold the tenets of due process. We will advocate fiercely for every citizen to have their voices heard at the ballot box. We will also work within our communities to encourage the completion of the 2020 Census to bring funds and services into our communities. And will work with elected officials to enact reforms of law enforcement to make sure that the phrase "I can't breathe!" is no longer uttered by a black person struggling to hold on to life.
On June 24, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. HALANY will present a panel discussion entitled “Tackling the Virus of Racism - A Call to Action.” A dialogue that will focus on racism, policing, necessary reforms, and what we can do. Join the conversation.
Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York