Celebrating 40 Years:
THE HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION OF NEW JERSEY’S STATEMENT ON THE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD AND OTHERS, THE PROTESTS AND THE NEED FOR CHANGE – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 1, 2020
George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. We must say their names.
The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (“HBA-NJ”) is saddened and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, and the countless others who have lost their lives because of the color of their skin. Recent events caught on camera have pulled back the curtain on an ugly and prejudicial America that has been too-often ignored – an America where individuals are treated differently and systematically targeted due to the color of their skin. Our black and brown communities will no longer remain silent or complacent in response to this culmination of ongoing, systemic, institutionalized oppression. In addition to these horrific recent acts of clear racism and violence, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastically disparate impact on minorities, claiming a disproportionally higher toll of lives among the black and Latinx communities and nothing is being done to prevent this injustice or to protect our communities. Enough is enough.
The most recent murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer over an alleged counterfeit $20.00 bill is horrific and disturbing. All of the Minneapolis officers involved in George Floyd’s tragic murder must be fully investigated and must be held accountable for their senseless killing of a black man who was not resisting arrest, not disobeying police orders and was murdered and treated disparately only because of the color of his skin. The message must be clear – rogue police officers are not above the law and black lives matter. The HBA-NJ calls on our elected leaders to demilitarize the police and to help rebuild the community’s trust in law enforcement. We must all work for justice and do our part every day by calling out each and every injustice including microaggressions. We are in a time where the cameras are rolling and capturing terrible actions that have been ignored for far too long. It is enraging and it should not require the senseless murder of a black man or violent protests across the nation for the government to take a stance on equal justice for all. HBA-NJ President Melinda Colón Cox said: “We need our government officials to protect the rights of our community – all communities – regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion. We need officials to effectuate real change through new legislation, regulations, police training programs and laws that ensure our police are properly trained to handle escalated situations with an alleged criminal and any inherent situation involving a person of color, because the truth is that racism and biases, whether conscious or unconscious, clearly exist and the consequences of that in our police departments have been deadly. Systemic reform is necessary. Let’s truly make the American justice system fair and equal to all and let’s end the abuse of power that is so prevalent throughout society.”
With respect to the peaceful protests and the rebellions over the weekend throughout the nation, the message is clear – our black and brown communities are hurting. While the HBA-NJ never condones violence, the anger, the frustration, the pain, the sadness, and the overall realization that black lives are too often overlooked is real and change is necessary. We must acknowledge our differences, we must rebuild from past historical mistakes, and we must understand, believe and invest in an antiracist society to ensure that the injustice of George Floyd’s death does not happen again.
The HBA-NJ knows and acknowledges that the majority of law enforcement officers have respect for their position of power, use their authority with fairness and integrity, and serve to protect all communities. “We thank the law enforcement and police officers who dedicate their lives to protect the people and who see beyond color to ensure equality to justice for all. We also thank the many police officers and other government officials that joined in the peaceful protests over the weekend, kneeling down by our community members and sharing in our pain. Now, more than ever, we need all communities to unite and we need all our voices to be heard if we truly want to support and protect our black and brown communities”, said HBA-NJ President Cox.
HBA-NJ President Cox further noted: “Our hearts go out to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and to all the other families who have lost their loved ones due to police brutality and senseless acts of violence, racism and hate. Our hearts go out to Christian Cooper for being faced with unprovoked verbal abuse and racism during his routine bird watching stroll in Central Park. Our hearts go out to our black and brown communities who are scared, tired, frustrated and hurt. Our communities need our help, and as lawyers, we must do what we can to ensure justice is served and find ways to lift our community. We must act swiftly and with urgency.” As attorneys, the legal profession has a duty to rise up and take a stance to ensure that the laws and rights of all people are equally, fairly and justly applied. The HBA-NJ stands with its black and brown communities, the family of George Floyd and the countless other black families who have lost loved ones unnecessarily because of the color of their skin, and we join you, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Garden State Bar Association, the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, and the many other affinity bar associations in New Jersey and across the nation, in solidarity, to protect our communities and to uphold the law equally against and for all communities. HBA-NJ President Cox concluded: “To our black community, we hear you, we see you, and we stand with you. Enough is enough.”
About The Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
Founded in 1980, the HBA-NJ is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit association that is comprised of attorneys, judges, law professors, law students, and other professionals who share a common interest in addressing the issues affecting Hispanics within the legal community.
The purpose of the Association is to serve the public interest: (i) by cultivating the art and science of jurisprudence, (ii) by advancing the standing of the legal profession, and (iii) by preserving high standards of integrity, honor, and professional courtesy among Hispanic lawyers.
Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
P.O. Box 25562, Newark, NJ 07101
For press inquiries, please contact: Alba V. Aviles, Esq., HBA-NJ Press Secretary, at email@example.com or (973) 966-8034.
For more information about the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, please visit our website at: www.njhba.org or contact Melinda Colón Cox, Esq., HBA-NJ President, at Melinda.Cox@piblaw.com or (908) 333-6214.