January 17, 2021

On MLK Jr. Day, We Commit to Work to Find Solutions to Persisting Racial Inequality

Contact: Nancy Rodriguez, media@acslaw.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold released the following statement in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

"In the “I Have a Dream” speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of a “promissory note” of freedom and equality the Founders had issued to all Americans but which had proven to be a bad check for Black people. Over centuries, the interest on that note has continued to pile up. Racism persists through our legal system, the economy and in our institutions, and the debt owed to Black Americans keeps growing.

2020 will always be remembered as the COVID Year. But it also was the year when the reality of perpetual, pervasive racism became real for many of us in the legal profession and in other positions of privilege and power; the year in which we realized that we were not part of the solution, as we had so long congratulated ourselves, but part of the problem.

Let us commit that 2021 will be the year when each of us acts, individually and collectively, to pay down the debt of which Dr. King spoke. ACS will return to this issue again and again in the coming year. We want to work with each of you to identify problems and lift up solutions so that we can all make partial payment on the check Dr. King brought to Washington in 1963."


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw