2020 was a year unlike any other. Globally, the world entered a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. And in the United States, our country finally confronted the racial violence that it too often explained as “history” or a thing of the past. From our respective virtual environments, we witnessed the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others. Killed by white suspicion. Killed during a middle-of-the-night police raid. Killed while running. Killed for existing. Killed for being Black. 

The summer of 2020 brought pain and sadness, anger and fear, triumph and pride. Pain each time the list of names we vowed to say and keep alive grows longer. Hope during protests with friends, colleagues, and fellow Journal members in the streets of DC. Encouragement as peers take to social media to educate themselves and others on this country’s traditions of racism that transcends time. And then despair as history repeats itself, replaying the all-too-familiar cycle of violence, followed by acquittal after acquittal and more violence. History repeats itself, time and time again.

As the first Black Editor-in-Chief of The Georgetown Law Journal, I could not remain silent. 

The Journal holds dear both its opportunity and responsibility to use our platform to educate. Through our scholarship, we can educate the legal field generally. Through our community, we can educate our Journal and Georgeotwn peers. The beginning of those efforts—and it is only the beginning—is reflected in these pages. Here, we share the foundation of what The Georgetown Law Journal will build upon for volumes to come. We have only scratched the surface in our fight to combat racial injustice and systemic inequities as a Law Review and I am proud of what we have managed to accomplish in just over one year and during a global pandemic. 

These efforts have not come without cost. Grief is not linear. This journey to liberation, to freedom from white oppression and racial inequities, is not linear. The pain the Black community feels is not new, but we experience it afresh every time another Black person is killed at the hands of police violence and white supremacy. And, we will never attain racial equity until harm against every BIPOC community is conquered. I stand by the Asian community, against the discrimination the community has disproportionatley faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and against the deplorable harm to the community’s elders. We must all band together in this journey. This must be a common goal before it can ever be attained. 

What the Journal  can add to this journey toward racial equity is education. That includes the scholarship we publish in law reviews, the authors we choose to work with, the readings we have for each law school class. But it is so much more beyond the legal realm. It is the education to free ourselves from our country’s deeply rooted racist past that transcends to the present.

That includes education on how to be freed of racist ties, microaggressions, and implicit biases. Education to be an effective ally, to be willing to give up seats at the table for those who might not have had the same opportunities or rights instilled on them from birth. I hope that as I can continue to educate myself on how to be an effective Black advocate for all Black people that my non-BIPOC peers and colleagues will do the same. From where we stand, the only way to go is up. The journey will not be linear but it will be forward. And I will not end this fight until one day these lessons are ever-present not only in legal scholarship, but in every aspect of education. 

We will use this platform to speak against the racial inequities that exist against BIPOCs in this country, and I hope that each of you reading this will do the same with yours. Until then, I will continue to Say Their Names and demand justice for those whose physical voices have been taken from us forever. 

Toni Deane 

Vol. 109 Editor-in-Chief of The Georgetown Law Journal