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Penn Law Clinics’
Black Lives Statement


The Penn Law Clinics mourn the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others whose lives were taken by police violence. We reaffirm that Black lives matter. We stand strongly in support of the fight for racial justice and condemn white supremacy. We pledge to work harder toward dismantling systemic racism and to ensure that equal justice under law truly applies to everyone.

The tragic, untimely killings of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown Jr., Sean Bell, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Atatiana Jefferson, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Tony McDade, Emmett Till, and far too many other Black people, are the result of a history of racist violence and systemic racism. Black communities have suffered unfathomable losses of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends.

For far too long, systemic racism has permeated every aspect of our society including criminal and civil justice, child welfare, housing, employment, immigration, and economic inclusion. Laws, policies, and practices have been used to oppress and to marginalize the Black community.

In preparing students for the practice of law, Penn Law Clinics seek to educate law students to confront injustice in our legal system and uphold the principle of equal justice for all. In much of our clinical work, we represent clients who strive to maintain their housing, income, family, health, and safety and aspire to lives of security, stability, and promise. We routinely witness how deeply rooted explicit and implicit racism erects barriers to protecting the most basic rights to life, liberty, individual dignity, and family integrity. As lawyers dedicated to social justice, we commit to speaking out against racism and demanding immediate, far-reaching, and sustained change.

We also recognize that we have much to do and more to learn to address racism, bias, and injustice against communities of color. We vow to work with the Black community and other partners to dismantle racism and white supremacy in the legal system, institutions, and other settings in which we teach and practice law. We will work harder to find new ways to address racial bias and systemic inequality in our classrooms, our curricula, our selection of cases and reform projects, and our mentoring of law students. We will engender discussion and learning that incorporates research and scholarship of people of color and amplifies the voices of our clients. And, our faculty and staff will work to support Black students and other students of color at Penn Law.

We welcome your thoughts and ideas on how we can further address these important issues.