Statement on Racial Justice and Equity

The California Access to Justice Commission joins the California Supreme Court and the California State Bar as well as many states’ highest courts and businesses in our commitment to re-imaging and reimagining a more equitable world. The California Access to Justice Commission advances access to civil legal justice for all Californians; expands civil justice resources for low-and moderate-income people; and develops innovations that reduce barriers to civil justice for diverse Californians. Our work is informed by our understanding that unequal access to the civil justice system is both rooted in and compounded by historical and present-day injustice, oppression, inequities, and trauma. We recognize that those burdens fall disproportionately on marginalized communities and individuals, particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We understand that the complex and multiple ways in which overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination and disadvantage can intersect, and thereby amplify, the impacts of injustice.

We unequivocally condemn racism, bias, and discrimination in any form – conscious, unconscious, institutional, systemic, historic, and continuing. We denounce hatred and bias based on race, color, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation or expression, language, or any other characteristic or status. We affirm our belief that all people deserve respect, dignity, and equal justice under the law.

There have been many efforts by the legal community over the years to reduce bias, support access to justice, and foster diversity and inclusion. These have included efforts to increase diversity in the courts and the bar, training bench officers to make decisions free of implicit bias, and identifying and reducing institutional barriers to obtaining legal assistance. But much more remains to be done.

We resolve to continue our work to combat systemic inequities in our civil justice process. We carry with us the awareness of the legacy of historic injustices and harm, and we are committed to using that knowledge to propel our efforts to create a more just and equitable world in which equal access to justice is a reality.