Published: June 3, 2020

On June 1, Dean S. James Anaya sent a message to the University of Colorado Law School community in response to the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed across the country:

Dear members of the Colorado Law community,

The tragic death of George Floyd and subsequent protests across the country are weighing heavily on my heart. I only hope that the grief and outrage being expressed will yield to positive change and some healing of wounds long-festering for people of color, which were made deeper by another Black man's violent death. We are reminded that our country’s aspiration of freedom and equality for all is far from fully realized, and I hope you join me in renewed resolve to build a truly just society.

Our place in the law amplifies our voice. Know that your voice matters.

With respect,

S. James Anaya
Dean and University Distinguished Professor

On June 8, Dean Anaya sent a follow-up message to the University of Colorado Law School community reflecting on racism and its pervasive effects in society:

Dear students, faculty, and staff,
Last week I expressed regret for the tragic death of George Floyd and hope for healing of the long-festering wounds cut by inequality and made deeper by yet another Black man’s violent death. Colorado Law’s Black Law Students Association, with expressions of solidarity by other law student groups, have rightly condemned the killings of Floyd and other Black people by police recently and identified them as “a result of deeply entrenched racism that continues to plague our country.” The cries and chants on the streets punctuate the pain and frustration that racism still widely yields.
Racism is rooted in a pattern of thinking and its effects are amplified by indifference or ignorance about it. Racism seizes upon difference and associates that difference with inferiority or undesirable traits. Looking to the past, this pattern of thinking generated the justifications for the theft of indigenous land and slavery to build the country, overtly discriminatory laws and practices, and more. Over time it gave rise to a national narrative of greatness largely to the exclusion of the experiences, struggles, and contributions of people of color, while projecting a national identity that defines them as others. Indifference to or ignorance about historical and ongoing acts of racism allow their effects to be normalized in social arrangements and public institutions. The country’s educational and other institutions tend to uncritically embrace and replicate the historically incomplete national narrative, which begins with white pilgrims and carries a theme of white manifest destiny. The indifference and ignorance are entrenched, making dominant actors numb to the country’s actual past; blind to the link between that past and the disadvantages faced by Black people, Native Americans, and other people of color today; and unable to envision our institutions as truly reflecting a multi-racial, multicultural America.
Today the racism that sees Black people as inferior or flawed – including in the sense of seeing Black men as prone to be dangerous – and that is ignorant or indifferent to their realities, can be lethal for them, as we’ve seen. George Floyd’s violent death highlights for the world that racism is very much alive in our country, and it is generating greater awareness that racism is pervasive, beyond the police and overt brutality. Indifference and ignorance about racism are also pervasive and can be seen at work daily maintaining the structures of disadvantage and the otherness of people of color, and inflicting indignities on them by maintaining denigrating offensive patterns of social interaction and public symbols.
In his book, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Ronald Takaki gives an account of the experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, and others in the history of the country. With great detail and eloquence this book reveals racism’s pattern of thinking and its deployment in the treatment of these groups as the country developed, while at the same time providing insights into their many contributions. The book is a strong antidote to indifference and ignorance, as it sheds light on the country’s past and the experiences of those who have been sidelined in the country’s dominant narrative, and projects an image of a country that is made better by genuine inclusion of diverse identities.
We’re assigning this book as optional reading for our incoming first-year class, with the objective of helping them reflect on the issues of race we are collectively facing and how to address them. As the book covers most legal milestones entwined with the history of race relations in the United States, I believe it will be especially edifying for our incoming first-year students. Later in the summer we will be organizing a series of discussions with the students around the book.
I invite you to join in the group book read and the related discussions. We have a license for a limited number copies of the book in electronic form. Please contact Susan Nevelow Mart for details. More information on the book discussion will be forthcoming.
Whether or not you join in reading the book, I hope you will join me in renewed commitment to see the country’s founding promise of justice and equality for all move closer to reality.
S. James Anaya
Dean and University Distinguished Professor



University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano sent the following to the campus community:

Combating Racism Together


Standing Against Hate and Violence

As I see national news stories about the death of George Floyd and other recent acts of racism, I reflect on the conversations I had earlier this year with our students about these very issues. 

Even though a global pandemic is keeping us apart from each other, I share in your pain, anger and sadness. When we see acts of racism, it affects us deeply and takes a physical, mental and emotional toll. We must reach out and support each other as we process what has happened. For me, I will not lose hope. I take heart in how our students have engaged with us over the last academic year. We had honest conversations in a genuine effort to enhance campus climate together and build a more welcoming, safe and inclusive community for all.

These intolerable injustices, whether they happen in Minnesota, New York or here in Colorado, strike at the core of everything we believe. Let me be clear: I am committed to diversity and inclusion of everyone on our campus. 

We stand in solidarity with all members of our campus community, including our police department and the city of Boulder in encouraging and supporting peaceful demonstrations.

As a campus community, it is incumbent on us to encourage civil discourse that lifts us all from this darkness. Universities can be, and must be, at the heart of social change. As a campus, we continuously work to cultivate a diverse, inclusive and welcoming community. We best illustrate this through our moral actions when we see injustice, close to home or far away.

Please take care of yourselves, each other and use our campus support resources, which continue to be available during these difficult times. 

Phil DiStefano,
CU Boulder Chancellor


On June 2, the executive board of the Colorado Law chapter of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) sent a message to the Colorado Law student body:

Dear Colleagues,

As the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at Colorado Law, we are writing to say we unequivocally stand with those who continue the fight against the systemic oppression of black people in this nation. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many other black people who have lost their lives as a result of the deeply entrenched racism that continues to plague our country and terrorize our communities will not be in vain, as they continue to lay heavy on our hearts.

People of color, particularly black people, are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 due to pre-existing factors like inadequate access to healthcare, chronic health conditions and working in essential fields. Yet, people still felt compelled to leave their homes to speak out against injustice and demand equality. This speaks to the gravity of the problems we are fighting against.

We stand with those who continue the fight against these structures and call upon the larger CU community to take action by donating—if you are able—to bail funds that pay for people unable to afford the cost of buying their own freedom. Below, you will find a list of these funds, as well as resources we believe are helpful during this time.

Black pain is not just about black death. This is also about black grief. We encourage those who need the support to seek out counseling services from the university’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services.

In Solidarity,

BLSA Executive Board

"Seeking justice means putting in the work."

Key Resources and Opportunities for Action

Donation Links: Bail Funds Across the Country

Statement from Military Law Society

Dear Colorado Law,

The Military Law Society (MLS) at the University of Colorado Law School extends its unwavering support to the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and all those affected by the pervasive, systemic racism plaguing this country.

MLS supports and defends the Constitution and we condemn any attempt to violate the Constitutional rights of our fellow citizens. Protests are an integral part of American history and have shaped our country since before its inception.

The military is meant to protect our country—not divide it—and we believe there need not be a conflict between the military and civilians.

MLS stands with BLSA and those protesting racial injustice throughout this country.

These views are those of the MLS Board alone and do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security.

In Solidarity,

MLS Executive Board

Statement from Latinx Law Student Association

The Executive Board of the Latinx Law Student Association (LLSA) at the University of Colorado School of Law would like to express our support for the statement made by the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, along with the loss of countless other Black lives, are an injustice. We mourn with you and extend our support.

The systemic racism and violence directed toward the Black community is a stain on this country’s history and is still present today. We condemn the pervasive and disproportionate acts of violence against people of color by law enforcement and demand accountability and justice. As future members of the legal community, we must hold law enforcement and our government leaders accountable.

As Latinx individuals, in order to speak out against racism, we must first make sure to look within our own community for prejudice. The Latinx community has its own history of racism against Black and Afro-Latinos that must be rectified. In order to ask our fellow Americans to accept all people of color, we must first do it ourselves. We must embrace both the Afro-Latinos within our own community and our Black brothers and sisters around the country. We start by extending our support to BLSA at CU and to the Black and Afro-Latinos in our greater Colorado community.

We acknowledge that it is not just the responsibility of BLSA and the Black students at CU to fight for change, instead, it is the responsibility of all of us within the CU Law community. As such, we stand in solidarity. We offer our support and a reminder—your lives matter and we are here for you.

As a sign of support, the LLSA Executive Board members have donated a combined $250 to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and the Colorado Freedom Fund. We encourage our members to donate, sign petitions, and contact elected officials to demand change.

We need to DO better. We need to BE better. We stand with you.

En solidaridad siempre,

Diego Villarreal, Co-President
Neila Rosales, Co-President
Ciara Westbrooks, Vice President
Victoria Venzor, Colorado Hispanic Bar Association Representative

Statement from National Lawyers Guild

Dear CU Law Community:

We write today with deep sadness and anger at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, all caused by police brutality and violence. Sadly, they are only the most recent high profile examples of those harmed by the American criminal justice system, which white supremacists built and maintain to subjugate Black people and other people of color. For too long, the criminal justice system has been the source of oppression and loss of Black voices, Black liberty, and Black lives. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) stands in solidarity with the Black Law Students Association, and we encourage you to read their statement sent to all law students earlier this week and engage with their insights and call to action, if you have not already.

The past week has been one of pain, grief, and outrage in the midst of an already long and difficult year. However, we are encouraged and inspired by the protests occurring in Colorado and around the country advocating for accountability for police officers who murder Black people, defunding the police in all communities, and the protection of Black lives. NLG as an organization has always stood for nonviolent resistance; it was founded in 1937 in anti-racist opposition to the ABA’s non-admittance of people of color, and was the first bar association to be racially integrated. Since 1968, we have provided legal support for protestors through the Legal Observer and Mass Defense programs, which work to provide witnesses, materials, and legal support structures for activists engaged in mass protests. NLG continues in this role both in Denver and around the country, supporting the Movement for Black Lives and other grassroots activists in their efforts to overthrow white supremacy.

If you are interested in ways you can support this movement, here are a few recommendations:

  1. If you are able, we encourage you to follow BLSA’s lead by donating to bail funds. In Colorado, abolitionist activist Elisabeth Epps (who we were lucky enough to have as a guest at an NLG event earlier this year) has started the Colorado Freedom Fund to pay for the release of people unable to buy their own freedom. A list of additional bail funds is in the statement from BLSA earlier this week.
  2. Come join us in protest! Our members and many members of the law community have been out this week protesting and observing in Denver, and we would welcome more representatives of CU Law on the front lines.
  3. In order to be a legal observer, you must be a dues-paying member of NLG (only $25 for students) and be trained by your local chapter. The next training is being held remotely on Monday, June 8 from 5:30-7:30. Reach out to Charles if you are interested in attending at
  4. Support the passage of SB20-217 in Colorado, which calls for systemic reforms in police accountability and reporting. Be sure to promote the provision of the bill that would strip police of qualified immunity and thus allow real accountability.
  5. Check out these additional resources:

In Solidarity,

CU National Lawyers Guild

Statement from Women's Law Caucus

Members of the Women's Law Caucus,

The Women's Law Caucus joins in solidarity with our fellow students of the Black Law Students Association and all those speaking out and challenging racism, police violence, and the systemic oppression of black people across our country.

Our board is committed to amplifying calls to action at this time and when we are back in session at school. We are going to give particular focus on our events and membership outreach this year to racial justice.

Today, we ask our members to read the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) message below that went out to our Colorado Law community and engage in the resources and bail funds they provided.

We also want to ask our members to commit to actively work to be anti-racist. Will you join us? Here are some easy places to start: Join The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) or Color of Change. Find your local Black Lives Matter group on Facebook. Read books about being an anti-racist: Anti-Racist leading list. Find out who your representatives are at EVERY LEVEL (school board, police chief, state reps, name it) and contact them about their stance on racial justice policies. Register to vote.

These are just starting points. Please reach out with ideas, feedback, and any resources that you have found helpful.

In solidarity,

Women's Law Caucus Board

Statement from If/When/How

If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice at Colorado Law stands with our allies in the Black Lives Matter movement, both nationally and here within the Colorado Law community.

Fundamentally, we believe that racial justice is reproductive justice. Self-determination of one’s reproductive future cannot exist without a close examination of the contextual underpinnings that influence health outcomes, especially for marginalized communities. As such, reproductive justice requires a reckoning with the structural inequalities in our health, justice, economic, and social systems that disproportionately harm communities of color--and Black women in particular--and perpetuate white supremacy.

This moment requires an honest examination of the racist implications of our current policing and criminal justice systems from reproductive justice activists and law students. We know that the criminalization of pregnancy and state involvement in the abortion decision weigh most heavily on communities of color, as long histories of systemic inequity have robbed marginalized groups of the freedom to control their reproductive lives.

We also know that the pursuit of reproductive rights has often left behind women of color, and we seek to dramatically reform our legal and social systems to remedy the racial inequalities that have long plagued reproductive health and choice. Our work pursues the rights of all people to determine if they become parents, when they become parents, and how they become parents--and the right to do so free from the specter of institutionalized violence and coercion. But too many Black bodies have been murdered by police, searing holes into Black families and eliminating the security and autonomy the reproductive justice movement demands. We say the names of Black lives recently lost to police brutality, knowing there are countless more whose names we may not know but whose lives we honor: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery.

We also hold queer communities at the center of our work, and denounce police violence against the transgender community. We say the names of young Black trans men and trans women who are recent victims of police brutality, knowing there are countless more whose names we may not know but whose lives we honor: Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Monika Diamond.

We are grateful to our friends in the Black Law Students Association for providing a list of racial and criminal justice organizations in need of support, which we reproduce below. Additionally, we provide a small reading list on the intersections among racial justice, criminal justice, and reproductive justice, as well as a list of organizations devoted to reproductive equality. As ever, we invite suggestions and dialogue to improve our discussion of reproductive and racial justice, especially those that center Black women and communities of color. We look forward to working together as a community of advocates-in-training to pull the moral arc of the universe ever closer to racial, reproductive, and gender justice for all.

In solidarity,

If/When/How Executive Board


Literature and Outlets:

Loretta J. Ross and Rickie Solinger, Reproductive Justice: An Introduction

Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty

Khiara Bridges, Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization

Michele Goodwin, Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood

Andrea J. Ritchie, Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color

Arneta Rogers, How Police Brutality Harms Mothers: Linking Police Violence to the Reproductive Justice Movement, 12 Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal 205 (2015)

Michelle S. Jacobs, The Violent State: Black Women’s Invisible Struggle Against Police Violence, 24 William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice 39 (2017)



If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, @ifwhenhow

SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, @sistersong_woc

SPARK Reproductive Justice, @sparkrjnow

Colorado Doula Project, @coloradodoulaproject

COLOR Latina, @color_latina

All* Above All, @allaboveall

Lambda Legal, @lamdbalegal

California Prison Focus, @CAprisonfocus 

Statement from Native American Law Students Association

The Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) at the University of Colorado Law School is deeply concerned with the events that have recently unfolded and have been perpetuated for centuries since the establishment of this country. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, in the last four months alone, are screaming examples of systemic injustice and the continued oppression of the Black community. We, the Executive Board of NALSA, stand in solidarity with the statement made by the Black Law Students Association at Colorado Law and we encourage all of you to read this statement.

In order to stand in support of those in the Black community it is our duty to acknowledge our own history. The Executive Board of NALSA realizes the misdeeds and harm done by Native Americans. We recognize that there were tribes that owned, killed, and traded Black slaves both before and after this country went to war with itself to eradicate that archaic and appalling regime. We acknowledge the pain of this legacy, and will not let those transgressions be lost to history.

We also acknowledge and are exceedingly grateful for the support that the Black community has shown us, especially the Black Lives Matter Movement. When Indigenous lands were being decimated and encroached upon at Standing Rock, it was Black Lives Matter who showed up and supported our Indigenous peoples. They stood with us in solidarity, and now it is our time to do the same. We pledge to actively advocate on behalf of and align ourselves with the Black community, both at the University of Colorado Law School and the community at-large.

In the spirit of solidarity, please join NALSA in a virtual prayer - for those who have gone onto the spirit world before their time and for those of us still fighting for justice. The prayer will be held on Sunday, June 14th at 10:00am MST via Zoom.

Makadewiiyaas bimaadiziwin zaagichigaade ("Black life is treasured" in Ojibwe)
Hasapa T’a Wiconi Ki Tokahe ("Black Lives Matter" in Lakota)
Nika sape kioxda te ("Black Lives Matter" in Osage)
Makseweyit pemahsewine kčitamíteha ("Black Lives Matter" in Penobscot)

Taylor Schad

Vice President
Sasha Strong

Logan Big Eagle

Ryan Lolar

Statement from Asian Pacific American Law Students Association

The Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) stands in solidarity with the Black community and the executive board of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at CU. We share in the grief and outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black individuals who have senselessly lost their lives. We stand with their families and loved ones in demanding justice. 

We condemn the systemic racism and subsequent acts of violence that have disproportionately affected the Black community. As leaders of a minority student group and as future lawyers we acknowledge the need to reform a system that has failed Black Americans time and again. We recognize that this is part of a continuous and difficult battle towards equality and justice. 

We echo the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Association and stand by their statement "In this moment in history- amidst a resonating outcry over the killings of Black Americans, amidst a global pandemic that has underscored the breadth of inequality in our country- we reaffirm our oath to use our knowledge of the law for the betterment of society and the improvement of the legal system."

We encourage members of APALSA and the greater CU Law community to be active anti-racist allies. 

 Here are some resources and easy places to start: 

Black lives matter.

In solidarity, 


Zoe Nagasing, President 

Luke Chiang, Vice-President 

Micah Cheng, Treasurer 

Jennifer Gao, Secretary

Statement from the University of Colorado Law Review Executive Board

Dear Colleagues:

The Executive Board of the Colorado Law Review unequivocally supports the statement made by the Executive Board of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA). We acknowledge that systemic racism is persistent and pervasive in this country. We also acknowledge that all white Americans—regardless of their intention—play a part. It is not enough to "not be racist" - we must be actively anti-racist. The inequitable and violent treatment of all people of color—and Black and African-American people especially—must end. Yes, Police must be held accountable. But all white Americans must acknowledge and work to rectify their overt and complacent attitudes that have led to such horrific injustice.

In fact, it is long overdue for white Americans to acknowledge how their complacency contributes to this injustice. White supremacist organizations are not the most insidious purveyors of racism in this country; the "well-intentioned" citizen who stands quietly while their fellow citizens are brutalized and discriminated against. It is terribly sad that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words from Birmingham Jail on 16 April 1963 ring with special poignancy today:

"First, I must confess that over the last fews years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderates. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says 'I agree with the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;' who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Truth be told, the Colorado Law Review is guilty of such complacency. For too long, the Colorado Law Review has failed to reflect the racial diversity present at CU Law, and in fact has remained a largely white institution. We fully recognize that this failure not only detracts from our legitimacy as a student organization, but also undermines the quality scholarship we produce. As CU Law’s largest student organization, this is an embarrassing reality that weighs heavy on all our hearts.

The tragedy of this moment—and of the part we have played in perpetuating such injustices—is crushing. That being said, we feel it is essential to commit to positive action moving forward. For this reason, we commit to the following actions which we hope may contribute to healing of this nation and to the deep, lasting, and equitable transformation that our innumerable communities so desperately need.

Action Steps

  • Critical Conversations Series:
    • We feel that awareness is essential to being anti-racist. To cultivate such awareness, we will be curating a Critical Conversation Series, which will provide a space for such learning to take place. In practice, the series will consist of everyone reading an article on a relevant topic (e.g., the portrayal of Native Americans in Legal Academia), and then having a prolonged discussion about it. Although a member of the Law Review will lead the discussion, all CU Law students are welcome and encouraged to attend. We hope to host a discussion once a month.
  • Collaborate with Student Affinity Groups:
    • In our opinion, there is a historical disconnect between the Colorado Law Review and the student affinity groups at CU Law. To mend this divide, we will be implementing an outreach program in which the Law Review establishes channels of communications with affinity groups at CU Law. The hope is to foster collaboration, cultivate empathy, and deepen understanding.
  • Encourage current and future Law Review Members:
    • To participate in Dean Anaya’s reading group
    • To attend the implicit bias training hosted by the university

Moderate white Americans have been quiet for too long. We, the University of Colorado Law Review and the members of the law school more generally, need to evaluate ourselves and acknowledge the role we play in sustaining racial inequity in our society. We pledge to be better.


The Executive Board of the Colorado Law Review

Statement from the Womxn of Color Collective

Dear Womxn of Color Collective (WoCC) Community:

WoCC stands in solidarity with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and the statements made by their executive board. We share in the continued outrage and support the protests against police violence, racism, and the systematic oppression of Black people in this country. There is no place for racial prejudice in our society, and we must work together to eliminate racism within the legal profession and our communities more generally.

It is important to remember that the Black Lives Matter movement was started by three Black womxn, and that police violence affects Black womxn and Black trans womxn as much as it does men. This is why we must Say Her Name. Breonna Taylor would have turned 27 this past weekend. And there are countless others: from Atatiana Jefferson to Sandra Bland, all incredible womxn lost to a system that denies them equality.

Our organization’s purpose is to create a safe environment for womxn of color during their time at the University of Colorado Law School. As the executive board, it is our duty to carry out this mission. We encourage our members to read the statement issued by BLSA and continue to educate themselves on these issues. Listed below are some resources to support local Black businesses in Denver, as well as organizations that accept donations.

As womxn of color, we have to be part of the change and continue to call out racism within our own communities. The unlearning of anti-Black sentiments and biases apply equally to groups within our organization as well. This is a painful and often uncomfortable process, but a necessary one to move forward. As future advocates, it is our responsibility to fight this culture of oppression and to ensure a brighter future for Black womxn and lawyers all around the country.

Remember, we are here for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to anyone on the Executive Board with suggestions, comments, or concerns. We are here to listen and help continue this dialogue.

In Solidarity Always,

WoCC Executive Board

Black-owned Businesses in Denver
Petition for Breonna Taylor

Organizations to Donate to: