As lawyers and members of The Mississippi Bar, we took an oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Mississippi and to conduct ourselves in accordance with the rule of law. Racism, brutality, inequality and unfairness have no place in our justice system. When they do appear, they threaten its Constitutional foundations and are an affront to basic human dignity.
The death of George Floyd is tragic and heartbreaking and causes us to grapple with issues of the fundamental fairness of the enforcement and administration of our justice system for all citizens, regardless of their race or color. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in the Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Injustice is counter to the mission of The Mississippi Bar, which is to serve the public good by promoting excellence in the profession and in our system of justice. Injustice thwarts the Bar in achieving its goals, which include fostering diversity and inclusion among members of the Bar community, increasing access to legal services, and promoting and supporting a justice system that affords prompt and fair resolution.
As President of The Mississippi Bar, I took an oath to uphold the law, rules, and bylaws governing The Mississippi Bar and to endeavor to carry out its mission and goals. The Bar is taking steps to foster diversity in our profession through its adoption of a Diversity Statement that “allows us to offer varied perspectives, interest, and experiences to both the practice of law and the administration of justice.” But, we acknowledge that there is more work to be done before we will see greater progress in these areas. There is more dialogue to be held; there is more listening to be done; there is more collaboration to be had. The leadership of the Bar is committed to having that dialogue, listening, and facilitating collaboration.
As lawyers, we must do our part to improve the administration of justice for all.
The Mississippi Bar