First and foremost, to our brothers and sisters of the Black community: we hear you, we see you and we stand by your side in solidarity to fight for racial justice, to demand systemic change and to call upon our local and federal leaders for an equal America.
Unfortunately, this type of fear, discrimination and racism is not novel in America. We have seen police brutality, excessive force, wrongful arrests, racial profiling, biased incarceration, and discrimination for decades. Although progress has been made through exercising our freedom of speech, demanding legislation changes and peaceful protests, it has been made evident in the past few weeks that there is much more to do and further to go. Despite the fears and stay-at-home measures caused by COVID-19, it is obvious that this issue is more important than ever.
Many of us in the legal profession have faced the fear of discrimination and blatant racism. Whether it’s in the court room, applying for jobs or with the justice system itself, we know how unfair and helpless it feels to not have your own life and destiny in your hands. But what many of us don’t know, is how it feels to lose a loved one because of such injustice.
The death of George Floyd marks a moment of culmination for many of us, causing a break in the silence; lighting a flame for justice; and sparking a determination for lasting change. As many have taken to the streets to protest peacefully across the nation, many have also resorted to violence in various forms, causing harm to innocent people and more disruption to communities that need the help. We want to remind these communities that history has proven that true change comes from the sustained power of collective, thoughtful and pointed action.
We support those exercising their First Amendment rights and urge our local community to come together to make long-lasting change in laws and institutional practices.
As legal professionals, we are fortunate to have the skills that are needed to enact change, to call upon our leaders for justice, and to take part by giving to the cause. We join the fight by calling on our leaders and elected officials at all levels of our government, including Oregon public officials and Oregon Governor Kate Brown, to:
We also encourage our South Asian community members to better educate themselves about these
issues so that we can stand alongside our Black community members to advocate for systemic
To assist with that education, we refer members to the following resources and reading list:
o They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
o The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander; and
o The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Finally, to the extent members of our community have the ability to contribute, we encourage them to donate to the following organizations to help support the fight:
o Campaign Zero: An organization devoted to ending police violence through research and data and human rights information: https://www.joincampaignzero.org
o The Know Your Rights Campaign: https://www.knowyourrightscamp.com
o The NAACP Legal Defense Funds: https://www.naacpldf.org
The killing of George Floyd was not the first, and unless we take action now, it will not be the last.
Black. Lives. Matter.
*This statement reflects the position of the South Asian Bar Association of Oregon. It does not reflect the statements or opinions of the Oregon State Bar or any other bar association. Board Members with affiliation or association with the judicial and executive branch of the federal, state and local governments did not participate in the issuance of this statement.
SABA Oregon would like to express its deepest sympathy and condolences to the people and families who have suffered illness or loss of life due to the novel coronavirus.
During these unprecedented times, we want to re-assure you and our community that we are here to help, and that we will get through this together.
COVID-19 is a global and human issue, requiring each individual, despite their race, gender, political position, age, or title, to act on behalf of humanity as a whole. We urge our community to treat one another with respect, dignity and compassion while we fight through this pandemic together.
SABA-OR strongly condemns all xenophobic and racist rhetoric and actions that our brothers and sisters of the Asian community have endured in response to the spread of COVID-19. We encourage and call on our state and nation's law enforcement and prosecutors to investigate these inhumane acts as criminal acts of violence and hate crimes.
Please follow and share Governor Kate Brown's Executive Order which was signed into effect today, March 23, 2020. The Executive Order can be viewed here: https://govsite-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/jkAULYKcSh6DoDF8wBM0_EO%2020-12.pdf?fbclid=IwAR21vUeBpDF29hHY_K1X8weBoNsXgPK2AmZAZ9mAU-cJ_SzBnGw72z2-Ezg
Thank you and please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or support.
Stay home, save lives.
SABA Oregon President
The South Asian Bar Association of North America is the umbrella organization for all SABA chapters and South Asian legal professionals throughout North America. SABA chapters seek to strengthen the rapidly growing South Asian legal community with a recognized and trusted forum for professional growth and advancement, and promote the civil rights and access to justice for the South Asian community.