June 12, 2020
The UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law strongly condemns the killing of George Floyd by law enforcement officers. The Journal stands in solidarity with all victims of racially-charged violence, including those currently at the center of national attention whose names should be enshrined in our collective consciousness: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Black lives matter. The failure of our nation’s ability to bring justice to victims of racial violence is a perpetuation of this country’s long history of white supremacy. Police brutality against Black and African Americans has drawn global recognition and condemnation, particularly from United Nations human rights experts. As an institution dedicated to the advancement of legal scholarship, international human rights, and diversity, we affirm our commitment to creating an inclusive and safe community for Black students, scholars and community members. We hope that, through our scholarship and community service, we are able to address the prevalence of systemic racism.
However, we recognize that solidarity is not enough. Police must be held accountable when they perpetrate violence and harm those they purportedly swear to protect and serve. The criminal charges against the officers responsible forGeorge Floyd’s killing is a significant, yet insufficient victory. Justice for victims of state violence should not be contingent on mass protests and public pressure; rather, true justice comes as a matter of course. In order for state actors to be held accountable, the Journal calls for (1) an end to qualified immunity for police officers and law enforcement officials ; (2) significant divestment from law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities, which should coincide with investment in schools, housing, and other community-building projects; and (3) the immediate implementation of independent oversight bodies run by members of civil society. We recognize that these steps, even if implemented in full, will not end violence against racial minorities in America. However, they constitute an important first step in rewriting our social contract which we, as members of the legal community, are uniquely situated to play a role in instituting.
As a way to continue this conversation, we invite all graduate and professional students at UC Irvine to submit notes to the Journal that address international issues of racial violence and police brutality. Student note submissions will be considered for publication in Volume 6, which will be published in 2021. Submissions will be accepted until October 1, 2020. Further details about submissions requirements will be posted to our website soon.
The Executive Board
UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law