'All Rise:' Black Raleigh lawyers stand up for a more equitable justice system

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- The lawyers gathered on the steps of the Wake County Courthouse, Friday evening, were not dressed for court. They came to make a statement: "Black Lawyers Matter."

With the phrase emblazoned on their black t-shirts, these African-American attorneys at law, stood with their fists raised in the air for a photoshoot amid the nation's reckoning with racial justice.

"Personally, the Black Lawyers Matter movement and this photoshoot have two-fold representation to me," said Evin Grant, president of the Capital City Lawyers Association, which organized the gathering. "First, Black lawyers matter to the communities in which they come from that are often underrepresented, under-respected, and under-served. We are relied upon by members of our community as people they can trust when dealing with legal matters. We are also whom little black boys and little black girls look up to as the protectors of their communities.

"This photoshoot reminds us that the legal profession is not immune from implicit and racial biases. The Movement is a reminder that we are deserving of equitable deference, respect, and treatment in the classroom, boardroom, courtroom, or wherever we may be. As a profession that represents various communities, we have yet to mandate implicit bias or cultural sensitivity training for our judges and lawyers. We do not find explicit consequences or discipline for acts of discriminatory conduct, and we continue to see policies and practices that make it difficult for Black Lawyers to truly excel in this profession."

Established in 1981, The Capital City Lawyers Association is a local voluntary bar association comprised primarily of minority attorneys, judges, and elected officials.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.