Last Saturday, I attended the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California’s Unity Breakfast at Aloha Café in Little Tokyo. Bar leaders from all over Los Angeles were present, including leaders from SCCLA, Langston, BWL, LGBTQ+ LA, JABA, APABA-LA, APAWLA, Irish American Bar Assoc., MABA and IABA. Before the meeting, we had a moment of silence for Tyre Nichols. Our collective silence struck me as a powerful moment of coming together and acknowledging the pain and loss of yet another member of the Black community at the hands of police.
Many of us are still reeling from the back-to-back violent incidents over the last few weeks. Monterey Park. Half Moon Bay. Keenan Anderson – a Black high school English teacher visiting from Washington D.C. – who died from cardiac arrest after being tased multiple times by the LAPD. Initially, I hoped to craft a message celebrating Black excellence in honor of Black History Month and highlighting the contributions of the Black community to this country, but instead I must acknowledge the feelings of anger, disgust, fear, and sadness among us.
How do we celebrate excellence and beauty in the face of such destruction and depravity? Because Black history teaches us that we must. The counter-narrative must be told, that feat of human strength and fortitude. We acknowledge the grief, but we also elevate the resilience that exists simultaneously with the hurt.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims of these senseless tragedies. I hope we can all find a moment of silence to honor all of them. And I hope as we reflect on this month, on Black History and the present, that we do so with the complexity this time deserves.
Thank you, Jasmine Horton, President of Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, for allowing us to repost BWL’s message on Tyre Nichols in our newsletter. We stand in solidarity with you.
President, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
Inner City Law Center
Inner City Law Center (ICLC) fights for housing and justice for low-income tenants, working-poor families, immigrants, people who are disabled or living with HIV/AIDS, and homeless veterans. As the only full-time legal-services provider located on Skid Row, ICLC advocates for equitable housing policies and provides legal services to prevent and end homelessness.
The Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA) has not only served as a dedicated pro bono partner on ICLC’s housing work, but the WLALA Foundation has also sponsored WLALA fellows to work with ICLC’s Homeless Veterans Project on issues affecting women veterans, including those who have been victims of military sexual trauma, as well as with ICLC’s Preventing and Ending Homelessness Project, where they address a variety of legal issues that create barriers to stable housing.
These exceptional WLALA fellows have passionately worked alongside ICLC attorneys to reduce barriers to income and housing stability for Los Angeles County’s most vulnerable residents.