MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In front of the criminal justice center downtown at 201 Poplar, attorneys who sometimes represent opposing sides in court joined forces Wednesday to march in unity.
The diverse group of black and white marchers were members of the Memphis Bar Association, the National Bar Association Ben F. Jones chapter and the Association for Women Attorneys.
One of the marchers was Memphis attorney Brande Boyd.
“The cause is to show that black lives do matter, which they don’t so far in this country, so it’s to stand up for black lives and our rights,” Boyd said.
The attorneys were there for the Bar Unity March, a march to recognize the injustices in the justice system.
“These are people who work in the courts, and our jobs in the DA’s office every day is to do justice, and this a great reminder to rededicate ourselves and make sure every citizen is protected by the laws, and no one is above the law or beneath the law,” Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said.
Before the march, impassioned speeches and remembrances of the black men and women such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor recently killed by acts of racial injustice.
“We will stand for all the names we know and names we’ll never know that have been harmed or killed due to racial injustices,” marcher Quinton Thompson said. “We will stand to say, enough.”
At 8:46 a.m., the marchers went from standing to kneeling. It was an emotional image symbolizing the time a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck before he died.
“How can we ensure this leads to meaningful change in our communities?” Thompson said. “Black people have been subjected to too much unnecessary death and violence, and often no one is held accountable.”
Thompson is vice president of the Ben F. Jones chapter. He challenged those in the legal community to also take a look in the mirror.
“You will no longer allow in demeaning remarks or actions in your presence, you will no longer accept any racist rhetoric of any kind from your friends, father, mother or yourself, and as lawyers you’ll institute new policies at law firms that will allow you retain and hire black attorneys,” Thompson said.
Attorneys marched for unity and change in hopes that one day justice is truly blind, no matter the color of someone’s skin.
“We will stand for hope, we will stand for change, we will stand for justice, we will stand for solidarity, and we will stand for peace,” Thompson said.