Statement on the First Anniversary of the Killing of George Floyd

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Release Date: 
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

NLADA Statement on the First Anniversary of the Killing of George Floyd

NLADA joins with the equal justice community of public defense, civil legal aid, client and community advocates and private sector allies in marking the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.  We acknowledge that change has not come fast enough to move our country forward toward racial equality, and we reaffirm our commitment to working in new ways to advance racial justice.

Mr. Floyd’s death sparked a renewed racial reckoning in our nation. The external and introspective conversations around racial inequities occurring within many institutions are critical to producing necessary change; but we must do more.  The continued loss of Black lives from the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers must end. The disparities perpetuated by systemic racism must be eliminated.

As civil legal aid and public defense attorneys and staff, client and community advocates and private bar allies, the NLADA equal justice community witnesses and fights against the intersectional symptoms of systemic racism every day. We are among the first responders in the justice system. We witness the human consequences of these systems, and we witness the patterns of these impacts. We understand the history and legacy of racism within communities of color. We understand the importance of working with communities to dismantle racist structures and policies. We know the law and its limitations. Collectively, we have a deep bench of nationwide experts who work in virtually every legal system as well as other systems that perpetuate racial inequity. Accordingly, we have a unique opportunity to seize the moment to make substantial, long lasting change.

At NLADA we are committed to:

  • Ensuring race is on the table and central to discussions about reform.
  • Embracing authentic partnerships with directly impacted communities of color in developing solutions to deeply entrenched issues of racial inequality.
  • Engaging in difficult conversations on race and the work of racial reconciliation.
  • Examining our own internal structures to identify and eliminate systemic inequity.

NLADA envisions an America in which our nation’s legal system ensures economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights for all people regardless of the color of their skin or socio-economic status. We are committed to ensuring that everyone who needs legal assistance to address life altering challenges has access to it. And we are committed to being transformational leaders who drive this country towards racial equity in bold ways that meet the urgency of now.


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels through the creation of our public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.