WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware (CPBD) offered its support to the petition from civil rights leaders Reverend Al Sharpton and Pastor Blaine Hackett to meet with Delaware Supreme Court Justice Tamika Montgomery-Reeves, leader of Delaware’s Bench and Bar Diversity Project, which was founded after years of advocacy for increased diversity in the state’s top courts.
Reverend Sharpton has worked over the past several years to highlight the lack of diversity in Delaware’s judicial system on the national level, noting the disparity between the percentage of people of color in Delaware’s prison population and representation on the state courts. At the local level, Pastor Blaine Hackett of historic St. John African Methodist Church has hosted events and activated a diverse grassroots coalition to fight for change in a system full of longstanding inequity.
The letter sent to the Hon. Justice Tamika Montgomery-Reeves showcased the urgency for tangible change in the court system’s diversity numbers, and for the Bench and Bar Project to partner with civil rights leaders to do so. "We encourage you to walk in the footsteps of this historic administration led by one of Delaware’s own, Joe Biden. We urge you to listen to the national movements for racial justice and make adequate, tangible steps to reverse and heal the pain caused by negligent leadership and lack of diversity. We also compel you to hold yourself accountable by sitting down with grassroots organizations, residents, and activists to gain relevant perspectives on pushing equity forward," stated Pastor Hackett and Reverend Sharpton.
The letter reiterated the current lack of trust plaguing the Delaware judiciary due to failures of diversity. Continued Hackett and Sharpton, "This year, Delaware had the opportunity to spearhead diversity on its courts. Instead, leaders chose to keep an all-white Chancery Court. While we applaud the new diversity project, how can we believe that this project is not just a mask to divert attention from past injustices? It is only fair that we question the legitimacy and genuineness of this project after years of advocacy from ourselves and thousands of Delawareans has not yielded positive change."
Said Chris Coffey, Campaign Manager for Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware, “Reverend Sharpton and Pastor Hackett are tireless advocates for judicial diversity here in Delaware and across the nation, and I can’t think of a better team to advise the Bench and Bar Diversity Project. Tangible change will require listening to leaders who have been in the fight for decades, and I hope Justice Montgomery-Reeves will meet with Sharpton and Hackett and make sure their voices are elevated as Delaware’s courts finally seek to enter the 21st century.”