Sanford Heisler Sharp Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Statement on Black History Month
On behalf of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, we sincerely hope everyone had a reflective and meaningful Black History Month. On this last day of February, we would like to take some time to remind ourselves of the commitment to justice and equity that we proudly carry throughout the year. Today, we reflect on this year’s Black History Month theme – Black Resistance.
In a climate where political leaders continue to call for an end to education on the racial history of the U.S. and even to ban books touching upon issues of discrimination and diversity, the theme of Black Resistance is especially vital. We must continue to highlight the absurdity of refusing to teach or learn about racism in a country which has been plagued by systemic oppression from the outset. We must continue to educate ourselves and support efforts to include Black history in education programs throughout the country. The HistoryMakers is a project that was “founded to address the lack of documentation and preservation of the African American historical record … America’s Missing Stories.”1 As a starting point, we invite everyone to visit this website and learn something new about the history of our country and the Black figures who made this history possible.
The beginning of 2023 was marked by yet another tragedy caused by systemic police violence against Black people. In early January, Tyre Nichols was fatally beaten by five police officers following a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee — the same city where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered 55 years ago. Tyre Nichols was just 29 years old. We must acknowledge the grief and frustration that Black Americans are forced to confront on a daily basis in this country, and we must find ways to support the constant calls for leaders to address the epidemic of police violence.
We must all do our part to combat the barriers to racial justice, both large and small. With that understanding, we sincerely hope that everyone meaningfully celebrated Black History Month this year, and we encourage everyone to maintain this focus on racial justice. For all of us at Sanford Heisler Sharp who are allies to the Black community, we must continue to do our part in educating ourselves, in promoting values of equity and inclusion, and in supporting Black Resistance.
Resources as a starting point for self-education:
Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights by Erwin Chemerinsky
Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable by Joanna Schwartz