Our Atlanta community is hurting after the tragic death of George Floyd, and countless others who came before him. We are all shaken by grief and frustration, here in Atlanta and all throughout Georgia and the rest of the country. Personally, these recent events have caused me to reflect across the many parts of my life which have shaped my views and formed who I am. As a lawyer, as a former military policeman, as a U.S. citizen, and as a husband and parent, I am motivated to tackle this situation head on. I have always know that there is a history of suffering and injustice that has hurt people of color. While minorities may not have a monopoly on this, they have certainly had more than their share. However, I now realize that this affects all of us. It is clear to me, that so many of us are hurting emotionally because of what happened in Minnesota and Brunswick. While these incidents are certainly not indicative of all police (or police departments), these wrongful deaths have highlighted the unfair treatment that African-Americans and other minorities have endured and continue to endure today. I say this as a former Military Policeman who was in the trenches and had to deal with very similar circumstances as that in Minnesota.
As a lawyer, I like to think that I fight for justice every day. This fight now extends beyond the office and into rooting out inequality in our justice system and in society in general . I am happy to report that, among its many goals, our State Bar of Georgia has stated that it exists “to improve the administration of justice, working daily to protect the public and support its lawyers.” As an attorney, I feel like I am in the trenches, much like the trenches I was in while in the Military Police Corps. But this time, I am in the trenches fighting to give everyone an equal playing field in life and justice for all. Powerful words, but heartfelt one nonetheless. We have to strive for this. Is it attainable? I don’t know but I certainly hope so. I know first hand what it’s like to be fighting against all odds and I don’t wish that upon anyone, regardless of race or any other factor. As the state bar says, “we commit to engaging, listening and learning from the experiences and perspectives of all those willing to share them. We will act upon what we learn to deliver on the promise of equal justice for all people. These conversations are uncomfortable, but silence is unacceptable.”
This all comes on the heals of the COVID-19 crisis. Frankly it is draining, but it is here and these situations must be addressed because these back-to-back crises have raised issues that we, as a society need to address. Even though I am tired, I want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I think we all have an obligation to take a fresh look at our society and (1) identify what is wrong with it; and (2) come up with a solution. One that will create a better future for everyone. We can do more. We owe it to everyone to make this work. I challenge each of you to join me.