SIDEBAR Summer/Fall 2020 - 36

MONTGOMERYBAR.ORG

SIDEBAR FEATURE

Introductory Remarks from
Kristen M. Gibbons Feden, Esq.
Delivered at MBA's Meeting on
Race and Diversity on June 30, 2020

I

am feeling very resigned. There is a
grotesqueness and horror to our racialized
world right now. While things have never
been optimal for us, the deluge of pain and
the torrent of willful blindness amid violence
is both deeply chronic and freshly acute -
from the brutally racially disparate impact
of COVID-19, to the fates of George Floyd,
Breona Taylor, Ahmad Arbery and other Black
individuals, including 27-year-young Robbie
Braxton III, in our own county murdered by a
white vigilante man posing as law enforcement,
to the actions of Amy Copper over in New
York, to the inactions of so many people who sat and sit idly by
as injustice persists.
When I watched the George Floyd video, I could not help
but, as a human being, feel his pain. As a black woman, I could
not help but harken back to the racist experiences I endured
and relive the pain and horrors of it all over again. As a black
mother raising two black sons, I could not help but think of my
sons - particularly as Mr. Floyd called out for his mother -
and be reminded of the fact that the inequities my children will
inevitably face, could result in their death.
I want to thank the Montgomery Bar Association under the
leadership of Patrick Kurtas, for taking on this difficult issue and
remind each and every one of you that when we were sworn in
as attorneys, we all took an oath not only to uphold the law; but
more significantly, to stand firm for justice and against injustice.
The murders of these and so many other black people and the
accusations of Amy Copper give the world a glimpse of the
pain that we constantly have to face. Unfortunately we can not
turn the television off to escape it; it permeates our lives. This is
compounded by the sickness that overcomes me when I see some
of the postings of people I once called colleagues, who refute

36 SIDEBAR

the Black Lives Matter movement, by saying all
lives matter or any variation thereof.
After the bombings at the Boston Marathon
that left three people dead and hundreds
injured, including seventeen people with lost
limbs, we said Boston Strong. We proclaimed
this phrase loudly, without consideration of
what state we were in, what country we were
in, or whether we participated in the Marathon
at all. We said Boston strong, not because the
lives of Pennsylvania residents or Montgomery
County residents did not matter. Rather we
shouted Boston Strong because at that moment,
Boston, devastated by the events of the bombing, needed our
support. So, in support of Boston, we all - whether in our
hearts or publicly - used some platform to declare Boston
Strong loudly, clearly, with love, and without ANY hesitation or
reservation.
Similarly, Black Lives Matter does not mean your life
does not matter. It does not mean you hate police or that law
enforcements' lives do not matter. No. Black Lives Matter
means black lives matter to you; and that you will no longer
sit idly by while systemic racism or violence from the system
disproportionately and adversely affects black lives. It means
you will stand against the injustice that tears down people who
look just like me - the same bubbly person who smiled in the
courthouse hallways and who you know would give anyone the
shirt off of her back - solely because of the color of my skin. It
means that my life, and the lives of my innocent two little black
boys (of whom many of you have met), matters to you.
While recent events leave me feeling very resigned, the
planning and scheduling of this meeting leave me hopeful and
my hope is that this is just one of many forums that will turn
into a call for action for real change.


http://www.montgomerybar.org

SIDEBAR Summer/Fall 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SIDEBAR Summer/Fall 2020

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