Dear Law School Community,
The events that occurred in Charlottesville this past weekend weigh heavily on my heart and mind. Like many of you, I am well aware that racism is not part of our distant past, but very much alive in our present. This weekend’s events allowed many people to show their true feelings and intent toward people they feel are inferior to them, and we cannot let those actions go unaddressed.
I feel as though I must make a statement now because racism and intolerance does not limit its pollution of hearts and minds to the immediate area in which it is dispersed. White supremacy and violence is poisonous to us all, and we must call it out for what it is: a cancer on our democracy.
Racial intimidation and acts of violence are unlawful. White supremacy is counter to the notion that all people are created equally. Our country has traversed more than two centuries of struggle related to race and equality and we cannot allow the actions of a misguided minority take us backward from where we have progressed.
As members of the legal profession, our character is paramount, and the fitness of our character is always being tested. I ask that you look for opportunities to stand for justice and equality as attorneys, public servants, officers of the court, and citizens of our communities.
Charles Hatfield stood up against laws and customs that were supported by white supremacists. On September 1, 1947, because of his bold and audacious demands and actions, the Southern University Law School opened its doors of access and opportunity to combat the toxic laws, thoughts, and actions that were supported by groups that are now led by David Duke and other white supremacists. Seventy years later, the Southern University Law Center stands tall to combat the toxic thoughts, actions, laws, and policies espoused by all leaders of white supremacist groups.
Let us stand together as an institution that vows to continue to be a beacon of diversity and inclusion, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first day of class at this great law Center on September 1, 2017.