DPA Commitment to Racial Justice

The Department of Public Advocacy is proud of the many public defenders and others who marched this week in support of racial justice and in opposition to police violence, especially that which is unjustly targeted against communities of color. To public defenders, who have dedicated their careers to standing against injustice, the circumstances of the deaths of George Floyd – brutality against a Black man suspected of a minor crime – and Breonna Taylor – senseless and unnecessary invasion of a Black person’s home – are horrifying, but not unprecedented.

In courtrooms around the Commonwealth, DPA attorneys regularly stand with Black clients who experience every part of the justice system differently because of their race:

  • Suspected, when others are not;
  • Approached and Stopped, when others are ignored;
  • Searched, often Forcibly, when others are simply questioned;
  • Charged, when others are given a warning;
  • Violently Arrested, when others are cited and released;
  • Jailed and Detained, when others are able to post bail;
  • Convicted, when others are dismissed;
  • Made Felons, when others are given misdemeanors;
  • Sent to Prison, when others are probated;
    • and in too many cases, including George Floyd,
  • Killed, when others live.

The Department of Public Advocacy is committed to fighting for justice for our clients and seeking systemic change to address racial inequities and law enforcement misconduct and violence. Beyond the justice system, we strive to recognize the pain and anger of our Black colleagues and friends and to combat the societal obstacles to true equality. We are also committed to personal and collective growth by listening to the voices of people of color and humbly examining our own behavior, beliefs, and language to ensure that we are not merely pointing to others, but seeking to be a part of the solution ourselves. Through the addition of a number of sessions at this month’s Annual Conference on many topics relating to the role of race within the justice system, we have sought to begin this process. Moving forward, we invite anyone who wants to contribute to DPA’s conversation on these matters to contact us at DPA.RacialJustice@ky.gov.

Both collectively and individually, the employees of the Department of Public Advocacy are devoted to the truth that Black Lives Matter.