Cal. Litig. 2020, Volume 33, Number 2

FROM CLA’S CEO A Personal Plea for Addressing the Root Causes of Racism

By Ona Alston Dosunmu

In addition to being the CEO and Executive Director of CLA, I am also an attorney. The death of George Floyd has affected me and turned my attention to the meaningful policy interventions that lawyers can champion to help reduce the likelihood that others suffer the same fate. But this month’s piece is less about those policy interventions than it is the personal cry of a mother, a wife and a sister to Black men.

Ahmaud Arbery. Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Botham Jean. Michael Brown. Freddie Gray. Walter Scott. Tamir Rice.

George Floyd is just one of many in a long line of Black men and boys who have died at the hands of police or at the hands of vigilantes who are confident that when it comes to Black men, they may act with impunity. The facts, circumstances, and law around these incidents are varied and complicated but the root cause is not. Many people are incapable of seeing African Americans as fully human. Added to this is the demonization of Black men as "criminals" and "thugs."

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