June 02, 2020

SBA Statement Against Anti-Black Violence

A letter from the Lewis & Clark Law School Student Bar Association to law students June 2, 2020.

To the students of Lewis & Clark Law School:

As your Student Bar Association, part of our mission is to empower, mentor, guide, and support Lewis and Clark law students to deepen and enhance civic engagement and social responsibility. Accordingly, we submit the following in social concert and solidarity, calling for system-wide change to anti-Black violence in our country.

As a student body, we must collectively denounce governmental use of racist rhetoric and the demonizing of protesters based on the color of their skin. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, we must actively––and loudly––condemn a system that refuses to hold police accountable for anti-Black violence.

In this same spirit of support, solidarity, and commitment, the SBA wants you to know that we stand in solidarity with the marginalized. Even as our democratic ideals demand we respect the equal rights of all, until Black Lives Matter, we cannot say, in good faith, that All Lives Matter. Together, we urge you to reject the racially motivated and discriminatory statements, violence, and brutality that continues to target African American communities and communities of color. George Floyd was not the first victim of state violence, nor was he the last.

Many members of our community already hold positions of power, and without nation-wide disruption, systemic violence will only continue. Although it is essential to know the law, it is also crucial to know our history. Only then, may we recognize and advocate against codified biases that disproportionately affect communities of color.

To this end, we make the following call to action:

  • We call upon our community to revisit the history of civil rights and civil disobedience in America. Recall the outstanding role students have played in agitating for change and know this role is of paramount importance today.
  • We call upon the faculty and administration in our community to incorporate this history into the classroom curriculum and dedicate time to the role that racism has perpetually played in our legal system. As future lawyers and current students of the law, we are uniquely positioned to reshape oppressive policies, to amplify voices against injustice, and to address inequalities. However, we must understand our past to enact meaningful change now and in the future.
  • We urge you to humbly place your privilege and agency at the service of those whose identities would make them a target of hate or intolerance. In the coming months, the SBA will compile opportunities in which you may volunteer your efforts to shape our local and national community for the better. If you have such an opportunity, please contact any member of the SBA.

And so, to all our students, but especially to those who hold marginalized identities regarding race, know this: we care about you and we are here for you.

We know that for many, these are challenging times, and it might get worse before it gets better. But we are confident that by working together, we can heal and grow stronger while demonstrating to the world what a community looks like when human dignity, solidarity, and generosity are the ideals that inform and drive our actions.


Student Bar Association
Lewis & Clark Law School 2020-2021