KALAMAZOO, MI — May 30, 2020 — “The nation is once again reeling from the effects of the death of a person of color at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve each of us,” said WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Tracey Brame, who has extensive experience in the area of civil rights. “Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we are seeing civil unrest, which should not distract from the true issue that as a post-Tracey Brame Jim Crow Laws nation, we need to do better at recognizing racial biases.”
Brame, whose professional history includes several years as a public defender, as well racial justice work in Alabama, where she conducted research, interviewed inmates and their families, and compiled statistics on racial bias in jury selection as she helped others prepare for a US Supreme Court argument, notes that in both cases, the death of Mr. Floyd, and death of Ahmaud Arbery while jogging in Glynn County, Georgia, being caught on video has brought the seriousness of this issue to the forefront. She believes that camera phones, and social media are now allowing for individuals to see what has always been an issue.
“The criminal justice system has failed in these instances, but I believe as a nation we want to do the right thing, we know we have to be better. I know this issue is tough, and it will be hard to continue making changes, but with data, experience and willingness, change can happen. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but it can happen, as long as we can shift from momentary outrage to sustained commitment to improvement.”