Despite historic milestones, barriers created by systemic racism mean that people of color continue to face barriers in employment, health care, the criminal justice system, housing, and much more. In response to the racial disparities in the COVID-19 deaths and the repeated killings of unarmed Black people by law enforcement, states are facing calls to implement policies that will help communities of color.

As the chief law enforcement and/or legal officers in their states, attorneys general have the ability to implement policies and advocate for laws that will help transform systems that have historically harmed communities of color. Attorneys general promote legislative change, set prosecutorial priorities, investigate systemic bias in police departments and court systems, and provide key leadership by advancing messages about how to

Below are examples of actions by attorneys general to advance racial equity:

  • Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called for the Attorney’s General office to be empowered to protect residents from hate and discrimination.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey spoke to the Boston Chamber of Commerce about what the business community can do to address systemic racism, including hiring from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, providing access to childcare, and supporting Black-owned businesses.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey challenged White Americans to actively participate in changing systemic racism, including encouraging people to shop at Black-owned businesses and educating themselves on race and racism.
  • Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke passionately about his experience as a Black man and father of sons living in America, and discussed his desire to ensure that systemic racism is tackled and addressed.
  • A coalition of 23 attorneys general filed a lawsuit to block a HHS rule that makes it easier for health care providers and insurance companies to discriminate against certain vulnerable and protected classes of Americans.