Dear Law School community,

This is an extraordinary moment in our nation’s history; hundreds of thousands of Americans are coming together to say that justice for all needs to be a reality in our country and that systemic racism must end. Across our nation and the world, we see an outpouring of outrage at police violence against Black citizens. I share the outrage at police violence, and want to recognize and honor the names of those most recently lost to police brutality and racist aggression: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The tragic experiences of these recent victims are only the most recent chapter in a long story of institutionalized racism that invades not just the criminal justice system but every aspect of our society.

As lawyers and lawyers-to-be, we know that law has in many ways been an instrument of racial oppression. Moving forward, I am committed to honoring not just the idea but the reality of justice. That requires work, now and in the future. We need to make the legal system work for communities of color. As we reflect on ways we can do that, your partnership is not just invited, but necessary.

But we have responsibilities at home as well. We need to make sure that as an institution, we work tirelessly to support our Black and Brown students, faculty, staff and alumni. Our Black students—and indeed our entire LEO community—are important and powerful participants in our learning and practice community. They need our support. The Black community in Madison needs our engagement and support as well. I invite other law schools to join us in initiatives and commitments that support our students of color and address systemic racism. I support our students and community members who are engaging in their right to protest.

Although my time as dean is coming to an end, these issues will remain a priority not only for me, but for the Law School community at large. A working group of faculty, staff and students is forming to address these issues and support our students of color. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to Jini Jasti at jini.jasti@wisc.edu. I will also work with our incoming dean, Dean Daniel Tokaji, to affirm our commitment to racial justice now and in the years to come. I know that he is as committed to systemic change as I am, and I look forward to his leadership on these issues.

Take care and be kind to yourselves and others.

Margaret Raymond

Submitted by Law School News on June 8, 2020

This article appears in the categories: Features

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