A statement on racism and equality from our firm’s managing partner to all our staff, which we now feel compelled to share publicly:
It’s taken me longer than I’d hoped to write this, but to be honest I’ve been processing some very complicated feelings about my home country, which I love so deeply and which is in the midst of a crisis that is greater than the pandemic, and which is going to change America in both necessary and profound ways.
The image of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a police officer, who ignored a non-resisting person’s cries for air for over 8 minutes, haunts us all. Even while bystanders pleaded with the officers, and we thought that certainly at least one of the officers would respond, they remained deaf to calls for help.
Those officers have now been charged, and so now I feel that I am emotionally prepared to write. Until now, I simply haven’t known what to say, about a country that I love, and that is in absolute turmoil. And I thought the pandemic was the national moment, but we’ve seen so many fellow Americans largely disregard the risks of the virus because the issue of systemic racism is too important, and has gone on for too long.
We don’t talk about it much, but Peace | Crowell is a minority owned business, in part because I am a person of color, and in part because Cindy is both a woman and a person of color. Our ancestries are Latino and Native American, but more than that we are minority and we stand in solidarity with all minority groups and oppose discrimination in all its forms, and we believe that Black Lives Matter. The events surrounding George Floyd’s death are disgusting and abhorrent to all human virtues, but you don’t need us to tell you the obvious.
This note is really about the national response. It has been profound to see so many fellow Americans protest and voice the urgency of the moment and the need for change.
I can only hope that the nation I call home responds as it needs to, and swiftly. This is a change that has been stirring for generations but the moment seems now. The justice system is on trial, and like you, I’ve been watching and waiting in suspense to see whether charges would be raised against all those responsible for Floyd’s death – and all the officers have now been charged but as I write that sentence it makes me think deeper to question what really is the extent of “all those responsible” for the systemic racism that is ultimately to blame.
I love America, more than I can express in words, and I am utterly torn over the pain that these events have caused but hopeful that the leaders of this great nation are listening to the voices of the nation, and that we will see change. At the same time, I know that this moment is really one of many similar moments, that racism is deep rooted and that turning this tide is a Herculean effort, but with so many fellow Americans united in the cause, no matter how long it takes, we will see the change we demand.
One of the deans affiliated with a great university that I once attended and also cherish said it better than I can: “We believe that Black Lives Matter. It is time for each of us, and for our society and world, to make that statement more than words.”