In Memory of George Floyd

A few weeks ago, I had the occasion to reflect on the Derek Chauvin verdict and share my thoughts with colleagues. Here is what I said:

From my perspective as a lawyer and a layperson, this was not a close case. We saw what we saw; our eyes did not lie.

Yet, I will admit that, when I heard the verdict, I fell to my knees, let out a small whelp of relief and shed a few tears.

This was not a close case but it felt like one. It speaks volumes about our criminal…

White Privilege Does Not Mean Your Life Has Not Been Hard. It Just Means It Has Not Been Hard Because You Are White.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award Acceptance Speech

August 7, 2020

Thanks for the thoughtful and generous words, Al. I am especially honored to have you present this award to me. I am a little aware of your personal story, including your distinguished military career, and your accomplishments in the legal profession, most relevantly advancing diversity. It means a lot for me to receive this award from you.

Further thanks to those who nominated me, led by Michael Homans, Shelli Fedullo, Nikki Johnson-Huston, Tobey Oxholm…

Every year, usually during the latter part of August, I spend a week at Carolina Beach, NC. I always look forward to this week with great anticipation, having grown up in nearby Wilmington and because the beach is my favorite place to be. It affords me the opportunity to slow down, connect with nature, recharge, gear up for a busy fall and spend time with family and close friends. The Saturday before Labor Day, we all come together for fellowship, good food, pool and beach time. …

Commencement Remarks to the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Development Institute Class of 2019

St. Paul Baptist Church, Harrisburg, PA, June 30, 2019

Thanks for the wonderful introduction.

Further thanks to Reginald Guy, my namesake, for the opportunity to be here this evening.

It is a real honor to be here, particularly in the distinguished company of those on the dais and luminaries in the audience like Homer Floyd.

Most importantly, I’d like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the graduating scholars of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Development Institute Class of 2019. [Round of applause]


LAW vs. JUSTICE: My Remarks at the Germantown Jewish Centre’s 2018 Yom Kippur Program

The topic of today’s program is “Law vs. Justice.” As an attorney, I often think about the two concepts but rarely in opposition to each other. I know full well, however, that the two are not synonymous. Particularly as an African-American, there have been many occasions when I have considered the two to be in conflict. Law does not always produce justice. To the contrary, it often codifies, preserves or perpetuates injustice.

Last week, I attended a convening in Chicago of all the ACLU executive directors…

Growing up, trips to Fort Fisher meant one of two things: a school field trip or a day at the beach with family. Both were exciting occasions for a kid who didn’t want to be confined to a desk all day. Lost in my youthful excitement, however, was the true significance of Wilmington, in particular Fort Fisher, as a confederate stronghold during the Civil War. Certainly, no one highlighted that in school, if it was taught at all. This lack of education, or even acknowledgment, is sadly consistent with other problematic aspects of Wilmington’s history: think, Wilmington Massacre of 1898

Forty-eight hours after first learning of the incident of two Black men who were arrested at a #Starbucks in Philadelphia last Thursday, and I am more — not less — angry. It is about so much more than this one incident. Racial bias and discrimination are so steeped in American culture that those of us who experience it on a regular basis have learned to live as second-class citizens in the country of our birth. To react or respond to every aggression, be it micro or macro, would take too much of a toll on our well-being. And yet, remaining…

I spent most of the month of October 2014 rallying my friends to vote for Wilmington, NC, in an online competition for “America’s Best Riverfront.” I take no individual credit for the victory but was very pleased that our collective effort paid off.

I left Wilmington over thirty years ago to attend college in Chapel Hill, but I have maintained a deep affection for my hometown. Although I have lived in New York City, northern California, and now Philadelphia, Wilmington remains “home” for me. Much like a one-sided relationship, however, that affection has not always felt mutual.

Wilmington International Airport

On a bright…

It’s great to be home. No matter where in the world I travel, who I meet — here’s looking at you, President Obama — or where I live, I will always consider Wilmington home.

I am a proud Wilmington native. It was a nice place to grow up, in terms of instilling important values, and it’s a beautiful town. Most of my family, and some really good friends, live here. As a beach bum, I spend one week every summer at Carolina Beach. So, my fondness for Wilmington runs pretty deep. But it sometimes feels like a one-sided relationship. Y’all…

Hip-hop artist Meek Mill was named one of the 100 most influential Philadelphians by Philadelphia Magazine. However, rather than his music, his recent prison sentence is what has garnered the spotlight, helping to focus attention on the problems of our criminal justice system, specifically the issue of court supervision in Pennsylvania and its impact on mass incarceration.

Rapper Meek Mill arrives at the criminal justice center in Philadelphia, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This past week, on November 6, Judge Genece E. Brinkley sentenced Mill, 30, to two to four years in state prison for a probation violation. Over ten years ago, an 18-year-old Mill was arrested for drug and gun possession. In 2009, Judge Brinkley…

Reggie Shuford

Tarheel by birth and education, civil rights lawyer and activist by profession . . . all opinions herein are my own. Twitter: @reggieshuford

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