As the saying goes, numbers don’t lie. But numbers don’t always count either.
Here’s what I mean. We know that the numbers tell us that millions of Americans can’t find the legal help they need, a shortfall that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. We know that the numbers tell us that discriminatory police practice persist. Yet despite the numbers, problems of access to justice and equal justice persist.
To date, numbers have not moved the legal profession to do better on either access to justice or equal justice. But maybe names will. Each of these names represents a person who deserved so much better from our system. Each name represents a gaping hole in their respective families and in the world that cannot be filled.
When we speak of access to justice and equal justice, numbers are powerful, but names more so. Numbers show us that systemic discrimination exists. Names remind us of the human element and why it’s so critical to fix our broken system now. Let’s get to work.