Say and Manifest Black Lives Matter Every Day
On this day of Public Defender marches for Black Lives across our state & country, we commit to say and manifest #BlackLivesMatter everyday in our work as #PublicDefenders… when we visit our people at the jail, answer their phone calls, meet with their families, stand besides them in court, investigate and cultivate defenses, litigate suppression motions, seek equitable, humane sentences, battle in limines motions, meaningfully voir dire prospective jurors, cross examine witnesses, deliver closing arguments, listen to and tell their stories, say their names and restore their humanity in a system that robs them of it.
We also commit to say and manifest Black Lives Matter to the seats of power… to legislators at the state capital demanding change to old laws and creation of new ones to erase and rewrite the codes that cage so many black human beings in our prisons on cruel, inhumane, disproportionate sentences… to prosecutors across this state who perpetuate police brutality & harassment of our black brothers and sisters and who dehumanize black lives daily by relying on the mass incarceration machine and all its gears to effectuate warped, inhumane definitions of justice… to judges as we bring suppression motions to spotlight unconstitutional policing, as we honor the people we've been entrusted to represent by saying their names and embodying their voices during those in chambers discussions, as we litigate in limine motions to exclude irrelevant, prejudicial prior bad acts of our people from evidence at trial, as we file and detail social histories for sentencing where we share the traumas our people have endured, provide context to their conduct, show that they were once victims too, highlight their unique capacities for rehabilitation.
We commit to say and manifest Black Lives Matter. It starts with them because the systemic racism that fuels mass incarceration started centuries ago on Black backs and at the expense of their Black bodies and Black lives. So when we commit as public defenders to say and manifest Black Lives Matter, we thereby say that the lives of everyone else we represent matter too.
#blmtopublicdefenders (at Santa Clara County Public Defender)
You can reach Sajid or follow his blog at: https://thesajidakhan.tumblr.com/