As an organization committed to justice, Pro Bono Net continues to work to bring the power of the law to all and to make the law work for the many and not the few. 

At this unique moment in the American story, a time that interweaves mourning the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color with hope for long-awaited progress and change for racial justice, all of us at Pro Bono Net are honored to celebrate and reflect on Black History Month. 

More than ever, this month is a welcome time to acknowledge and celebrate the historical impact of Black attorneys, legal professionals and social justice advocates who have led the fight, in courtrooms and communities, against systemic racism and for equal justice in the US. It’s also a time to lift up the work of those working to imagine and build a more just, inclusive and equitable future for all. As Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. stated when recently recognized with the ABA’s 2021 Spirit of Excellence Award, “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ etched on the frontage of the United States Supreme Court is one of the most awesome sites for any lawyer approaching the court. But those words are not a statement of fact – they are a command, an admonition, an aspiration, and a challenge.” (We encourage you to read Ms. Iffil’s statement in full, which challenges all in the legal profession to speak out for the structural changes necessary to ensure the safety, justice and well-being of Black Americans.) 

We are pleased to share two sessions from the recent Decolonizing Justice convening that elevate the voices and share the perspectives of advocates and activists on the front lines of this essential work.

Antionette D. Carroll’s lived experiences navigating and striving to survive the justice system have made her an expert on issues of inequity and oppression. In the Decolonizing Justice session Living Justice, Antionette shared her reflections on various meanings of the word “justice.” She challenged us all to examine who holds power at decision-making tables, identified what it might look like to amplify the power of lived experience, and outlined her vision for redesigning the world to center justice for communities of color. Learn more about Creative Reaction Lab, the nonprofit Antionette founded, here.

Envisioning a Just Future for All: Nurturing and Sustaining Justice Movements, featured leading activists and movement lawyers Meena Jagannath, Director of Global Programs at Movement Law Lab, Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, Human Rights Lawyer, and Marbre Stahly-Butts, Executive Director of Law for Black Lives. In this session, they reflected on the critical work of nurturing and sustaining justice movements and shared their visions for a just future for all.

Together, we can continue to envision and build the more just future we know is possible.