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RACIAL

JUSTICE

In 2014, CCPD held a demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We stood on the courthouse steps declaring publicly that black lives matter to Public Defenders in Contra Costa County. In response, District Attorney Mark Peterson claimed that his office’s filing decisions and the criminal justice system are color blind. This motivated CCPD staff members to form the Racial Justice and Diversity Committee, a group of dedicated lawyers and investigators working to ensure that our office aggressively advocates for racial justice and confronts racial bias and discrimination. The Racial Justice and Diversity Committee serves to fight for the eradication of racism in the Contra Costa County criminal justice system. The group shares with the office ways to show judges, prosecutors and jurors how racial bias manifests itself and how it hurts our clients. We aim to reduce our own biases to better understand and advocate for our clients. The Committee works to increase diversity at CCPD by doing outreach to candidates of diverse backgrounds and supporting employees within the office. In collaboration with the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition, members of the Committee helped form an official Racial Justice Taskforce within the county. Committee members were also instrumental in the formation of Public Defenders for Racial Justice, a group of public defenders from throughout the Bay Area. Public Defenders for Racial Justice provides a forum to collaborate and train members on how to tackle and expose racial issues that arise in our work. Finally, the Committee hosts law student interns and externs interested in working on racial justice issues.

 

Links:

Contra Costa Racial Justice Taskforce

Public Defenders for Racial Justice