The Robert H. Jackson Center envisions a global society where the universal principles of equality, fairness and justice prevail. Those principles have been tested significantly for decades, coming to a head…again…in these last weeks. We are angered by and mourn for the most recent in a long line of those for whom equality, fairness and justice have not only not prevailed, but have utterly failed. We say their names – Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd – because names have power.
To paraphrase Justice Jackson, “We cannot deny that racial ill-will and intolerance exist in America, but we can deny that they are American.” Those who are protesting have been mired in systems that have repeatedly failed them – failed to recognize the inequalities, failed to acknowledge the impact, and failed to correct the underlying conditions.
A society grounded in the rule of law is also a society where the systems that support it must be fair and just. The discontented have the right, in truth have the duty, to openly voice their dissent, and the contented have the obligation to listen and respond, by word and just action, to that dissent. Violence is not the answer; ‘this concept of liberty has no tolerance of any form of lawlessness,’ because ‘an attack on any member is an attack on the peace of all.’
Black lives matter. Black experiences matter. We have more work to do. On the front of the United States Supreme Court building, four words are inscribed: EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW. That is the ideal – one that each and every one of us should be able to support and for which we should never – we can never – stop fighting.
At the Jackson Center, we are committed to elevating and amplifying the voices that fight for the marginalized, speak truth to power, lead by example, and work to correct abuses of power, internationally and domestically. We advance the legacy of Robert H. Jackson through our dedication to inspire, educate and encourage public discussions regarding justice and law. This year, our programming explores “The Other – Through Your Eyes” to open a window into another person’s experiences to foster understanding, even where agreement is not possible. We always will be a home for these conversations, but we know we can do more. Join the conversation. Hold us accountable. Do more with us.