The California Access to Justice Commission joins the California Supreme Court and the California State Bar as well as many states’ highest courts and businesses in our commitment to reimaging and reimagining a more equitable world. The California Access to Justice’s mission is to improve access to justice in civil matters for the most vulnerable Californians, including people living on low as well as moderate incomes. We are committed to redoubling our efforts to eliminate institutional racism that has limited opportunities and oppressed Californians of color.
Recent tragic events have highlighted systemic racial injustice across all aspects of daily life including equitable access to the courts, education, healthcare, housing, transportation, childcare, financial services, employment and social services. These fundamental resources and services are essential for the well-being of individuals, families and the stability of communities and society. They must be provided free of racism and bias, and available on an equitable basis. Courts must be one of the mechanisms through which justice and social change open the doors for more equal access to these basic human resources.
Many in the legal community have worked for years to reduce bias, support access to justice, and foster diversity and inclusion. This has included diversifying the courts and the bar as well as training bench officers to make decisions free of implicit bias. But more remains to be done.
The events of the past make it clear that deep and fundamental change to our justice system must be made and the time to do so is now. Our country is crying out for changes to eliminate institutional racism. This new order is long overdue to make our world not more, but completely, fair and just. We must not squander this opportunity.
To that end, our Commission has formed a new committee on Racial Justice and Intersectionality to ensure the Commission’s membership, values, goals, and work plans fully reflect our call to divest from all vestiges of institutional racism. The composition of the Commission body and all of its initiatives must include, center, and uplift all marginalized voices, with an emphasis on being led by people with lived experience that connects them directly to the impacts of institutionalized racism and subjugation. Not only are we committed to addressing racial and all forms of oppression and denial of opportunity, we are committed to the diversity that ensures our systems reflect the images, experiences, and ideas of all Californians. As we have so humbly been reminded by current events, the voices of all are required to ensure that justice for all is not just imagined, but achieved.
We recognize that racism is a public health concern. We understand that the cycles of poverty, violence, hunger, lack of access to financial and social stability cannot be eradicated in a racist world. We emphatically declare that Black Lives Matter.