Washington Law Review

Addressing Racial Injustice

Letter from the Executive Board


June 14, 2020

To Members of the Legal Community:

We write on behalf of Washington Law Review to address recent events and to acknowledge the role our organization has played in degrading and devaluing Black lives.

At its best, the law is a reflection of our society’s highest ideals. At its worst, the law is a tool used to suppress and oppress minorities’ voices, communities, and access to justice. As the flagship legal publication of our State’s largest public institution, Washington Law Review has a responsibility to reflect Washington State’s highest ideals—both internally, as an organization, and externally, as an academic publisher.

We have failed for 100 years.

Internally, we have failed to create a membership composed of diverse identities, experiences, perspectives, and interests. Our state is rich with diversity. Our membership within the Law Review does not reflect that. Further, we have failed to adequately address the inequities, bias, and institutionalized racism that is perpetuated in law school and other legal institutions.

Externally, we have failed to publish and amplify cutting-edge legal scholarship from scholars of color in the manner we should. We have not demonstrated that our organization is one that welcomes diverse voices and thought provoking pieces that highlight critical race theory. In our exclusivity, we have contributed to systemic racism.

Today, we acknowledge that Washington Law Review has served as a tool for White supremacist and racist institutions to suppress and oppress minorities’ voices, communities, and access to justice. We commit our next 100 years to working both internally and externally with partners in our legal community to eradicate racism and systemic racial injustice. As the Washington State Supreme Court recently stated: “This is our moral imperative.”

Moving forward, the WLR Executive Board will, among other things:
• Improve and diversify our article submissions process by soliciting submissions from professional affinity organizations
• Establish and enforce an inclusive language policy
• Better educate ourselves on the ways in which bias manifests in law school and on law reviews, and provide implicit bias training for our members
• Establish a Diversity Committee to work with the Chair of Diversity & Inclusion on continuing efforts and accountability measures
• Advocate for a more robust law school curriculum that includes subjects like advanced critical race theory, mass incarceration and sentencing law, critical disability studies, and more

In support and solidarity,

The 2020–2021 Washington Law Review Executive Board