Wednesday Wisdom Blog Series: Combatting Anti-Black Police Violence

Each week of Black History Month, we’ll be sharing some key resources, articles, organizations, and leaders in law as part of our Wednesday Wisdom Blog series. This week, our Wednesday Wisdom is focused on the issue of police brutality and racial violence. Check out the resources and content on the topic below!


Key Changemaker: Keith Ellison

Lawyer, Politician, Attorney General of Minnesota

Keith Ellison currently serves as the 30th Attorney General of Minnesota, where he is the first African American and the first Muslim American to be elected to statewide office. He previously represented Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District on the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2019, where he was the first African American representative from Minnesota and the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress. Prior to serving in elected office, Ellison worked as an attorney specializing in civil rights and defense law.

In May 2020, Ellison took over as special prosecutor in the murder case of George Floyd, and his office charged the policeman who knelt on Floyd’s neck with second degree murder (a more serious charge than the Hennepin County attorney’s original charges). Ellison also charged the other three officers present with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter, when originally no charges were filed. Read more about Keith Ellison as part of the ABA’s 2022 trailblazer profiles here, or from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office here.

Video Spotlight: Let’s Get to the Root of Racial Injustice, TEDTalk by Megan Ming Francis, 2016.

Watch this TEDTalk by Megan Ming Francis, political science and law professor at the University of Washington, which discusses the roots of racial injustice in the United States and challenges listeners to confront the ways our actions and institutions lead to racialized treatment of black people and anti-black police violence.

Organization to Support: Baltimore United for Change

Baltimore United for Change (BUC) is a grassroots coalition of citizens and organizations combatting anti-black police violence in Baltimore city. BUC has a long track record of demanding police accountability and justice for Black Baltimoreans who are victims of police violence, promoting Black economic empowerment, and educating the Baltimore community on ways to build a better future.

From the Baltimore United for Change website:

BUC continues to meet with youth, residents, lawmakers, and other community leaders to pursue legislative and policy transformation. In addition, in the aftermath of the uprising, our coalition is actively providing for the material needs of our neighbors in affected communities by offering legal support to protesters (including a Jail Hotline, lawyers and bail money), rapid response teams in the face of police aggression, and a budding alternative food system founded on food sovereignty and food justice – not charity.

Learn more about Baltimore United for Change and what they have accomplished here or consider supporting their efforts with a donation here.