June 7, 2021

American Constitution Society Announces New Initiative in Support of a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission in the United States

Contact: Pablo Willis, pwillis@acslaw.org

Washington, DC – Today, on the opening day of the American Constitution Society’s National Convention, Russ Feingold, President of ACS, and Zinelle October, Executive Vice President of ACS, announced a new initiative supporting truth, racial healing, and transformation (TRHT) in the United States. The new initiative is part of ACS’s long-term effort to support transformative legal change through exposing legal systems and frameworks that perpetuate systemic racism.

ACS has dedicated its 20th Anniversary year to race and the law, and to reckoning with the founding failures of our Constitution. As the country’s foremost progressive legal organization, ACS is focused specifically on how our laws and legal systems have been used to sustain and legitimize racial oppression and on supporting transformative legal change.  Moving forward, ACS will be hosting programs, producing scholarships, and engaging with partners to advance truth, racial healing, and transformation.

ACS is proud to support the work of countless activists and leaders like Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Cory Booker, and Dr. Gail Christopher, who have labored for years to advance this work for an equitable future for all.

“I am honored to announce ACS’s support for a national truth, racial healing, and transformation commission,” said ACS President Russ Feingold.  “Across the globe, legal experts have played critical roles in truth and reconciliation commissions, recognizing how intertwined this work is with the law. The legal system has served as a tool to erect and uphold white supremacy in this country, and rectifying our laws and legal systems needs to be a key focus of TRHT in the United States.”

“The legal profession has a critical role to play in helping to detail and rectify the harms inflicted by ourselves, our colleagues, and our predecessors,” said ACS Executive Vice President Zinelle October. “We are inviting our over 200 student and lawyer chapters, and all ACS members to join in reckoning with our laws and institutions, and in helping transform our legal system to one that is grounded in equality and justice for all”

“ACS’s commitment to truth, racial healing, and transformation is momentous for advancing the important legal component of this work,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, Executive Director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity. “The law is a central mechanism by which racial hierarchy is enforced in this country. We must examine our laws and reckon with their role in promoting the fallacy of white supremacy if we are to jettison the belief in a racial hierarchy and achieve sustainable racial equity in this country. I am thrilled to have the progressive legal community as a partner in this critical work.”