After Charleston, Loretta Lynch as Justice Disruptor

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Monday, June 22, 2015

We grieve for nine innocent African American churchgoers who were slaughtered at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston Wednesday night because of the color of their skin. The terrorist said he did this because of their race, his actions stemming from hate. Terror and fear now permeate our houses of worship and our souls. We have wept, prayed, tweeted, mobilized and marched for a new social justice movement that demands true equal justice for all. #BlackLivesMatter has become our rallying cry to demand real action. The national media has rediscovered our urban communities and is reporting on the inequalities that have plagued our justice system for decades. Where is the leadership that will finally inspire and direct this new movement forward in a way that has never been done before? Who will create one line of march that will include everyone who must be part of the solution: cops, judges, educators, philanthropists, governments, business and corporate people?

Government and businesses use the term "disruption" in a good way. It connotes innovation and throwing out what does not work and coming up with new creative solutions. Let's call for the "Justice Disruptors" to work on the most intractable human rights violations of our time: we shall pledge to eradicate injustice, slavery and gender inequity. This disruptive and inclusive movement needs leaders who actually lead. We need the voice of someone who reflects our communities, understands our pain and our love, someone who will bring justice as well as healing. And just such an innovative and disruptive voice has emerged. Loretta Lynch was sworn in Wednesday morning as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States.

Her swearing in and introduction to the American people was no rote affair. There was an electricity and excitement in the air, a mix between a church revival and a graduation commencement for a cherished relative. You can feel the aura of history and possibilities - the new Attorney General is a career prosecutor and woman of color - the first in our history. The only other female to hold the post was Janet Reno, the first female Attorney General, during the Clinton administration.

Loretta Lynch lifted and energized us in a way that no official has in recent memory. This was no tired, generic "Law Day" speech. A southern preacher's daughter, she painted a portrait of our quest for justice that was inclusive, clear and attainable. The Attorney General laid out a vision and clarion call for all to hear that created a clear path to follow where the rule of law must reign supreme: "At every turn, when struggles threaten to tear us apart, we turn to the law to reconnect ourselves with our highest principles. To give voice to those fighting oppression. To give hope to those seeking the redress of wrongs. To give meaning to the cry of 'never again.' And to protect those who call on us in the still small hours of the night when they are cold and frightened. These are our values. These are our beliefs. And when we hold on to them, we do great things."

On the day that we celebrated the appointment of the first woman of color Attorney General we mourn and curse the circumstances of the death of nine innocent people. Loretta Lynch has been baptized by fire, and this fire will indeed rage until our Justice Disruptors become an integral part of our national movement for social change.

Read her full inauguration speech here.

Watch her address to the nation after the Charleston shooting.

Contributed by: 

Carol Robles-Román