The death of George Floyd, combined with the nationwide call to action inspired by that death and the senseless deaths of too many other people of color, has brought to the forefront of our lives the historical inequities of our justice system and of our society. Much has been said about the issues surrounding racial inequality in America, and yet much more needs to be said. And, most importantly, the anguish that underlies the protests needs to be heard and acted upon.
The Preamble to the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct calls upon lawyers to “seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice, and the quality of service rendered by the legal profession.” Further, the Preamble demands that lawyers “be mindful of deficiencies in the administration of justice” and devote our time and toil to ensure “equal access to our system of justice for all.”
Tuesday, our Chief Justice pledged that our courtrooms will become an example of our shared commitment to the declaration that all people are created equal. North Carolina lawyers must heed and aid in the fulfillment of that pledge. We must dedicate ourselves to the ideals of our Preamble against the insidious injustice of racism, both implicit and institutional. If we truly believe in freedom and justice in this nation, then we need to embrace racial equality for all.
To the lawyers and citizens of North Carolina: The call to action has been heard; we stand with those who seek equal justice for all; and we promise to do our part to encourage, assist, and support lawyers in fulfilling their professional responsibility to do the same.
Colon Willoughby, President
North Carolina State Bar
Filed Under: General News