United States: Project 1619 and the way forward to racial justice
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In commemoration of June 2021, Proskauer had the honor to welcome
Nikole hannah jones, founder of The 1619 project, as part of his A way forward lecture series and Collaborate for change program. The discussion was moderated by Keisha-Ann Gray, a partner in the New York office, with support from Proskauer’s Black Lawyer Affinity Group.
Hannah-Jones shared insight into the enduring legacy of slavery and how systemic racial inequalities contrast with American ideals. Although this holiday celebrates a time of hope and joy, its existence also raises important questions and invites reflection.
Project 1619, an initiative of The New York Timesdirected by Hannah-Jones, is provocative to some because it challenges the concept of our national identity. Hannah-Jones questions the framing of the nation’s founders as paving the way for freedom and equality for all when some Americans were seen as less than human. Slavery and the contributions of black Americans should no longer be taken as a footnote, but rather “in the very center of the United States. ”
Project 1619 draws attention to an entire part of American history that for too long has not only remained unspoken, but has been erased from the collective memory of the country. According to
Equal justice initiative, there were over 4,400 racial terrorist lynchings in the United States during the period between Reconstruction and WWII. This racial violence was part of a broad program of disenfranchisement and segregation that created enormous barriers for blacks to access to justice and the ability to exercise their basic rights and live in peace. equal footing before the law. America’s true identity as a nation is therefore rooted in struggle. Although Americans may take some truths as “obvious,” this has not made these truths a reality for everyone. As long as this struggle is absent from textbooks, classrooms, and dining tables, we will never truly understand American history. In a free society, we should never allow our national identity to be based on a sanitized version of the past.
Without recognizing and understanding the origins of the inequalities that exist today, it is impossible to address them. The legacy of slavery is evident in the racial disparities that permeate many aspects of our society, including education, health care, employment, housing, and in our criminal justice and electoral systems. Understanding how racism has shaped and continues to shape our country is of crucial importance not only to finding effective solutions, but also to developing a sense of urgency in addressing inequalities.
Proskauer is committed to raising his collective conscience and working with racial justice and community organizations for meaningful change. From increasing volunteer work on racial justice issues to establishing a fellowship with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and as a leading law firm in the Advocates Committee for Civil Rights under the Electoral Protection of the Law Initiative, Proskauer recognizes the vital role the private sector must play in realizing the American ideals that are so dear to us.
Project 1619 and the way forward to racial justice
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