The Supreme Court of the State of Washington has committed to end systemic racism by delivering justice to black people in the state’s judiciary and legal community.
The development comes after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis which triggered the ongoing protests and civil unrest in the country.
In a statement authored and signed by 9 judges, the Supreme Court said the devaluation and degrading of black lives is a persistent and systemic injustice that predates the nation’s founding as the country’s continues to see racialized policing and the over representation of black Americans in every stage of the country’s criminal and juvenile systems.
“Our institutions remain affected by the vestiges of slavery. Jim Crow laws that were never dismantled and racist court decisions that were never disavowed. The legal community must recognise that we all bear responsibility for this ongoing injustice, and that we are capable of taking steps to address it, if only we have the courage and the will,” the statement reads.
The Supreme Court said judges must recognise their role in devaluing black lives in order to do better in the future.
“..This very court once held that a cemetery could lawfully deny grieving black parents the right to bury their infant. We cannot undo this wrong, but we can recognise our ability to do better in the future. We can develop a greater awareness of our own conscious and unconscious biases in order to make decisions in individual cases, and we can administer justice and support court rules in a way that brings greater racial justice to our system as a whole,” the Supreme Court said.
The court said the traditional way of doing things has bound the country’s legal profession to fuel systemic oppression of black Americans, describing it as something incorrect, harmful, shameful and deadly.
“..We call on every member of our legal community to reflect on this moment and ask ourselves how we may work together to eradicate racism. As we learn in to do this hard and necessary work, may we also remember to support our black colleagues by lifting their voices. Listening to and acknowledging their experiences will enrich and inform our shared cause of dismantling systematic racism,”
“We go by the title of “Justice” and we reaffirm our deepest level of commitment to achieving justice by ending racism. We urge you to join us in these efforts. This is our moral imperative,” the Supreme Court said.
The U.S justice system has been blamed for overseeing the massive arrests of black people over crimes that white people commit and walk free. The FBI and US Census Bureau data for 2018 reveals that in 2018, around 750 out of every 100 000 African Americans were arrested for drug abuse, compared to around 350 out of every 100 000 white Americans.
The survey also reveals that the two races use drugs at a similar rate, but African Americans continue to get arrested and charged at a high rate.