The VLN community is devastated by the needless and senseless death of George Floyd. Volunteer Lawyers Network condemns the killing of George Floyd and all police and racial violence. For the past week, our staff and volunteers have been among the peaceful demonstrators, on the front lines and coordinating community support efforts. While we are proud of them, and of the thousands of Minnesotans who are coming together in the spirit of peace and service, it is not enough for individuals to shoulder the burden of action and systemic change. 

We encourage everyone in the VLN community to educate themselves about the impact of race and bias in the legal system. An excellent place to start is an article by Delaney Russell, a former Deputy Director at VLN. She outlines practical steps that attorneys can take to educate themselves about racial fairness and justice in our legal system.  That said, education and conversation is not enough. Action is needed. 

VLN was founded during the Civil Rights Movement in 1966 as a response to the inequities faced by communities of color and people experiencing poverty and oppression. Fifty-four years later, our country faces the opportunity to emerge from this terrible tragedy a stronger and more just society. VLN is committed to to taking a hard look at its mission to determine how its work can be retooled to expedite the reversal of inequities faced by communities of color. We need these changes to be thoughtful, well-informed, and actionable. We ask for guidance – we will be actively seeking it and listening to the clients and communities we serve. We welcome any feedback community members are willing to give. Please contact me at 612-752-6675 or [email protected] to provide your thoughts and feedback. 

We look forward to joining and listening to our community as we strive to achieve the ideal of equal justice for all.