WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After years of tireless advocacy diversity by Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware and community partners, Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Colin Seitz Jr. announced the new “Delaware Bench and Bar Diversity Project” heeding the calls for more Black and brown representation on Delaware’s top courts.
Said Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware Campaign Manager Chris Coffey, “We’re glad that Delaware is finally taking steps to address the glaring lack of diversity in its judiciary after years of advocates ringing the alarm. While the issue runs deep – and Governor Carney has failed to take the most simple step of nominating Black judges – we’re hopeful that the project will identify meaningful solutions to address this crisis, and will listen to those who have been fighting for diversity for years.”
The project will be helmed by the state Supreme Court’s first Black Justice, Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, and will be a “strategic effort to address diversity issues in the legal field” and will make recommendations to attract and retain diverse lawyers to the state’s judiciary and legal industry. The project is a collaboration between the state, the National Center for State Courts, and AccessLex Institute.
Faith leaders in Delaware and nationally have fought alongside CPBD in recent years to shed light on the lack of judicial diversity. Legendary civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton has decried the state’s lack of judicial diversity, traveling to Delaware multiple times to urge Governor Carney to take the issue seriously. Locally, Pastor Blaine Hackett of St. John African Methodist Church Inc. and Reverend Christopher Bullock have led protests outside the Governor’s office calling for diverse leadership to restore trust in the state’s justice system.
CPBD proudly joined the efforts of those leaders, and recently mobilized over 2,000 Delawareans to nominate a Black justice to replace outgoing Chancery Court Chancellor Andre Bouchard, but to no avail. With Carney appointing Lori Will, a white woman with connections to Bouchard's former law firm, CPBD has pledged to renew its advocacy for systemic change and racial justice in Delaware’s courts.
Continued Chris Coffey, “We have seen that even under intense pressure, Delaware’s leaders have chosen to maintain the status quo rather than listen to community-led advocacy for change, and we will remain vigilant to ensure that this new project actually effects change. While this announcement is a first step, we will maintain pressure every step of the way to ensure the project makes systemic change, rather than just a PR stunt to save face for Delaware’s Old Boys’ Club.”
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware is a group made up of more than 5,000 members including employees of the global translation services company TransPerfect, as well as concerned Delaware residents, business executives, and others. They formed in April of 2016 to focus on raising awareness with Delaware residents, elected officials, and other stakeholders about the unprecedented forced sale of TransPerfect. While their primary goal of saving the company has been accomplished, they continue their efforts to fight for more transparency in the Delaware Chancery Court. For more information on Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware or to join the cause, visit DelawareForBusiness.org.