To the members of the Georgetown Law community:

I am heartsick over the recent deaths of George Floyd (Minnesota), Breonna Taylor (Kentucky), Tony McDade (Florida), and Ahmaud Arbery (Georgia), and I am horrified that their deaths are part of a much longer list of African Americans who have been killed by police and by vigilantes. The violence and hatred that took their lives is appalling. Their deaths, as President DeGioia wrote us yesterday, “present our country—and each one of us—with the imperative to confront the enduring legacy of slavery and segregation in America.” This legacy, which has tragically shaped too much of the history of our nation, is one of injustice and violence, and it is a legacy that each of us must fight.

I am proud to be part of the Georgetown Law community because this is a law school dedicated to that fight and to the dignity and equality of all persons. In this time of loss, we must reaffirm our core commitments as a community and as individuals. We must recommit to the struggle for the equal treatment of all people and to the fight against racism in all its forms.

I recognize that it is a fight that is as difficult as it is vital. But, as these killings show, it is imperative that we dedicate ourselves to that struggle. As James Baldwin eloquently reminded us, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

In the past few days, I have spoken to many members of this community about how to respond to these deaths and how to support those who are suffering. In the days ahead, we will be announcing community events and conversations focused on responding to racial injustice and on these violent attacks on African Americans.

For decades, Georgetown Law has been at the forefront of making meaningful change as a community of lawyers, academics, and practitioners dedicated to fighting racism and injustice. The voices of our faculty have already been strongly evident in this crisis, and I call your attention to the powerful essays by Professor Paul Butler here and here, and Professor Christy Lopez here.

As a Jesuit institution, Georgetown Law educates people for others. As we battle racism and hatred, that commitment has never been more important.


William M. Treanor
Executive Vice President and Dean
Paul Regis Dean Leadership Chair