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NYS Women’s Bar Association president issues statement in support of peaceful protests

June 5, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Joy Thompson has not even been president of the Women’s Bar Association for the State of New York for a week, but she has quickly jumped into the role. She issued a statement on Wednesday in which she praised the women involved in peaceful protests against the Louisville police department and pledged that her organization will support legislative reforms.

“During my installation speech this past Saturday, I mentioned how women often rise to the occasion to lead in times of crisis,” Thompson said. “Thus, I was not surprised to learn that in Kentucky last week, a group of women locked their arms together and stood in solidarity with African-Americans peacefully demonstrating against the death of Breonna Taylor.

“The women created a peaceful barrier between the protesters and the Louisville Metro Police officers,” Thompson went on to say. “In recent days, many of us have watched as much as we can handle the images of the brutal treatment of George Floyd, an African-American man who was asphyxiated during an arrest in Minnesota. Weeks earlier, we were outraged by the fact that it had taken two months for authorities in Georgia to arrest and bring charges against three men who ambushed and shot to death Ahmaud Arbery, an African-American man jogging through a neighborhood.”

Thompson went on to praise members of law enforcement who have taken a knee with protesters in solidarity.

“As a 40-year-old women’s organization well versed in the history of injustice yet committed to the struggle for positive change, WBASNY stands, arms locked, against racism, intolerance and bigotry and for the fair and equal administration of justice for all.”

Thompson is the 38th president in WBASNY’s history and only its second Black president. Justice Andrea Phoenix, a judge in Nassau county, was the only previous Black president of the organization.

Natoya McGhie, who recently took over as the president of the Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, issued a statement in support of Thompson.

“Brooklyn Women’s Bar Association, as a chapter of WBASNY, stands with WBASNY President Joy Thompson’s statement on recent tragic deaths,” McGhie said. “I know that we will continue to support and stand with each other against injustice and inequality.”

McGhie officially took over for the Bar Association on June 1, though she is not scheduled to be installed publicly until June 16. However, there is talk of canceling that event, which was to take place virtually over Zoom, due to the ongoing protests in New York City and around the country.

WBASNY was created 40 years ago as a group that advocates for equality and fair treatment for women in the legal community and across the state. In recent years it has advocated for laws that were passed on sex trafficking, domestic violence, equal pay, and many other issues.

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