Racial Justice

Rising to the Meet the Demands of the Moment and Movement 

For more than 50 years, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights has fought to dismantle the many manifestations of institutionalized white supremacy and the oppression of Black communities and other people of color. Our mission is ever-urgent amid COVID-19 and the racist, brutal murders of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, and so many others. We are committed to zealously honoring their lives and the Black Lives Matter movement through our work to fight for racial justice.

As part of our racial justice work, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate harm on Black communities and other communities of color. We are providing critical direct legal services and advocating for a racial justice lens in COVID related policies. For example, we are working to:

  •  Pressure Governor Newsom and counties across the Bay Area to provide unhoused people–many of whom are disabled and people of color–shelter in hotels. We are also investigating litigation to support and increase the pressure.
  • Report on racism in statewide infraction policing, including COVID and protest policing, and advocate for the end of police harassment and harm in communities of color.
  • Close the racial wealth gap. During COVID-19, demand for our small business services has increased more than tenfold. We are working to protect the income and stop the eviction of small businesses owners of color. We are the only organization in the Bay Area preventing commercial evictions via representation, which can be decisive in preserving our clients’ businesses.

With the current national reckoning in response to police brutality, we are rising to meet the demands of the moment. We are remaining connected and listening to our grassroots coalitions, law firms, and other community partners to better understand where we can collaborate, where we can follow, and where we can lead. This is how we work. By being grounded in community, we are able to identify the greatest needs and how our expertise can best be used to fill critical gaps. We are thinking strategically and creatively about how we can best lend our expertise and skills and mobilize pro bono partners and we are innovating nimble responses.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights was founded on the belief that advancing racial justice is essential to achieving civil rights for all. The history of racial injustice in this country is long, complex and emotionally charged. Although decades of struggle, determination, litigation and advocacy have removed the most egregious and blatantly racist laws from local, state and federal governments, systemic and structural racism still exists.

Fair Chance Campaign Ordinance Press Conference
Fair Chance Campaign Ordinance Press Conference

We are committed to challenging policies or abuses of power that are unjust and unlawful based on race. To do so, we have developed a multi-pronged advocacy strategy, including direct legal services, policy advocacy, litigation, community outreach and education. Educational Equity, Economic Justice, Voting Rights, and Reentry and Criminal Justice Reform are among the issues we confront, but our portfolio is determined by the plethora of civil rights abuses that surface in myriad forms.