SF District Attorney Adopts Racial Equity Pledge to Combat Racial Injustice in the Criminal Legal System

Chesa Boudin speaks at an August Candidates’ Forum in 2019 in San Francisco

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that, in an effort to ensure the staff in his office work to promote racial justice, he invited them to join him in taking a racial equity pledge to commit to eradicate inequities in our criminal justice system. District Attorney Boudin and staff members vowed to fight racial injustice by adopting the pledge at the conclusion of an officewide racial justice training.

Boudin also announced the launch of a new Training, Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Division within the office to further these goals and action steps to reduce racial disparities both in the office and in the legal system overall.

“There is power in words: Our office is committed to racial justice,” said District Attorney Boudin. “With this oath, we commit ourselves to using the considerable power we have as prosecutors to promote racial justice and to combatting the racial disparities in our system.”

District Attorney Boudin has prioritized combatting racial injustice since his campaign and during his first few months in office.  In recent weeks, however, with the killings of numerous Black people at the hands of police and a national reckoning around racial injustice, District Attorney Boudin felt it was important not to just advocate for policies advancing racial equity, but to invite all staff members to personally pledge to use their positions to promote racial justice and holding others accountable.

The pledge reads as follows:

“The San Francisco District Attorney’s office does not tolerate any form of bias, including on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, status, religion, disability, or age.

“I _____ acknowledge that people in these categories have borne the burdens of systemic discrimination manifested in inequitable social, environmental, economic and criminal justice policies, practices, and investments. The legacy of these government actions has caused deep disparities throughout San Francisco’s criminal justice system.

“I ______promise that I will not tolerate bias, and commit to eradicate inequities, in our criminal justice system; that I will never betray my character, my integrity or the public trust; and that I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.”

In addition to the pledge, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has committed to additional steps towards combatting racism and racial injustice, including a new division dedicated to diversity and inclusion. District Attorney Boudin recently hired experienced attorney Arcelia Hurtado to spearhead these efforts as the Managing Attorney for the Training, Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Department.

Ms. Hurtado, a graduate of Berkeley Law, is bilingual, bicultural, and deeply committed to serving populations that would not otherwise have access to legal representation. She is the former Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, a national women’s rights organization, and the former Deputy Director and Immigration Policy Advisor at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national civil rights organization dedicated to achieving LGBT equality through litigation, legislation, policy, and public education.

“I am grateful to District Attorney Boudin for not only recognizing that prosecutors bear great responsibility to prioritize issues of racial injustice and inequities in various forms but also actively working to address them,” said Ms. Hurtado. “I am eager to move our office forward towards our collective goals of eliminating racial and other disparities in our legal system and in our workplaces.”

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