Illinois Judges Association Statement on Racial Justice

Recent unrest and protests across the nation resulting from the mistreatment of African Americans serve as stark reminders that racial injustice, inequity and discrimination endure throughout our society.

The Illinois Judges Association stands firmly against racism, oppression and hate. The court system not only plays a vital role in ensuring justice and upholding the law, but it is essential in guaranteeing the civil and constitutional rights of all people, regardless of color. 

That purpose protects and strengthens our democracy by safeguarding and reinforcing our individual rights and freedoms under the law to ensure fairness and equality.

As judges, we must continue to eliminate any implicit or explicit biases in the courtroom. But we also must exercise our authority and ability to seize upon this moment to take direct aim at systemic racism and recommit ourselves to bringing greater racial justice to our justice system.

In doing so, we strongly support the efforts of the Illinois Supreme Court and its initiatives seeking to proactively address inequities and take steps to not only eliminate racial disparities but also to achieve the Court’s strategic goals related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Recognizing and confronting instances of inequality and injustice undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable discussions and difficult choices. But we also must be encouraged that recent expressions of solidarity with African Americans and others, and grief that have brought us together, are signals that meaningful change is possible. The Illinois Judges Association is committed to making the change happen.

Yours truly,
Diane M. Shelley, President