“What Justice Looks Like” by Susan Francis

We as a society talk a lot about loving our neighbor, being kind to strangers, jumping in to lend a helping hand to someone in need. And yet, we often don’t make the connection that playing our individual roles in pursuing justice can be just as important and profound and immediate as helping a family after a house fire or helping someone cross a busy street.  

George Floyd’s interaction with the police cost him his life. Black individuals in our country are far more likely than their white counterparts to have an encounter with a police officer that leads to criminal charges, incarceration, or worse, as well as a devastating future with little hopes of stable housing or sufficient employment. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 24 percent of all arrests in America are related to drug offenses. The American Civil Liberties Union found that Black individuals are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana. This is despite the facts that that white and Black people use marijuana at an equivalent rate AND that white people make up 75% of the population and Black people make up just 14% according to the 2022 U.S Census. Those are truly shocking numbers. 

When we think about justice, sometimes it’s hard to figure out how one can plug in as an individual to help. While you and I may not be able to fix overpolicing and overincarceration with the tools available to us today, we can – as attorneys, advocates and supporters – take action right now.