The staff and faculty of the Mills Legal Clinic (MLC) recognize that racism, and specifically anti-Black racism, permeates legal and social institutions and deeply affects all of our work.
As educators and lawyers, we are committed to combatting racism. Despite our efforts, however, we have not made adequate advancements in creating a sufficiently inclusive, diverse, and equitable learning and working environment.
The continued murders of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement and the ongoing discrimination against and disparate treatment of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals in areas ranging from education, health care, environmental, immigration, technology, corporate, and beyond compel us to revisit our commitment to teaching about race and systems of oppression in a renewed and pressing way.
As a clinic whose pedagogy is centered around training the next generation of lawyers, we have a responsibility to teach these injustices, to work to rectify inequities, to create inclusive classrooms and workspaces, and to continue to learn and grow with cultural humility.
Principles Governing Our Work
- First, it is not enough to talk about diversity and equity without also addressing racism, including centering anti-Black racism.
- Second, for change to happen, it must involve all of us. Allyship is critical to lasting, meaningful change. Allyship, and all our anti-racism and DE&I work, must grapple with the hierarchies of our workplace and the structures of the institution in which we operate.
- Third, this work is hard and we will all make mistakes. How we recover from those mistakes will be an important marker of our success.
- Fourth, we see this work as central to the MLC’s service and education mission. We cannot effectively serve our clients unless we engage deeply with the structural racism that has marked all their (and our) lives. We can only teach our students how to be effective advocates if we also teach them about engaging in this work with a cultural humility lens and a commitment to debiasing.