Episode 121 — Ben Crump — Speaking Truth to Power: The Fight for Social Justice in America
When it comes to doing the easy thing versus doing the right thing, many choose what’s most convenient at the moment. But change doesn’t happen this way.
Leaders like Ben Crump, Founder and Owner of Ben Crump Law and one of TIME100’s Most Influential People of 2021, are paving the way for everyone to have equal rights and opportunities.
On this eye-opening episode of The Game Changing Attorney Podcast, Ben and Michael sit down to discuss:
- What goes into fixing a broken system
- How to remain optimistic when you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel
- Why even death threats won’t stop Ben from fighting for justice
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Sacrificing for the greater good. “My mission is to try to make sure that marginalized people, especially people of color and especially Black people, have an equal opportunity at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fighting for these equal opportunities and chances at justice, you understand that you have to sacrifice a lot. I always feel like I’m running out of time, because it seems like we can’t keep up with the hashtags of how many marginalized people of color are killed unjustly by the people who are supposed to protect and serve them. Every day, we get up to fight to prevent the hashtags and the next hashtags from happening.”
No justice, no peace. “We have to make America believe in the Declaration of Independence. I get in a lot of trouble every time I pick a jury because I literally go one by one and tell them, ‘I know you can recite the Declaration of Independence, but do you really believe that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equally, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness?’ We don’t have a chance if they can’t see Black people as equal to white people.”
An unfortunate reality. “In my home state of Florida and other states like Tennessee and many others, they say that one in every five Black men will be a convicted felon. They say that if that trend continues, in the next 25 years, one in every three Black men will be a convicted felon. Imagine you are a parent of a Black son. Imagine that you have a Black male nephew. Imagine that you have a Black male cousin. Imagine these three little Black boys playing and having fun, and as you observe them, try to figure out in the next 10 to 20 years which one of those little boys is going to become a convicted felon, living life as a second-class citizen.”
Choosing to do the right thing. “I know what my objective is. God blessed me with this influence, and I’ve got to use it to help those who have no voice. Fox News said I was the most dangerous man in America, and I couldn’t help but wonder how that could be possible if I’m just trying to help Black people get equality. What could be so bad about that? My team and I deal with death threats, and that’s why it was hard to agree to filming the documentary. I know what I’m getting myself into every day, but I didn’t want to expose my wife and family to the same things. That was a very methodical decision, and I eventually chose to do it because it gave me a platform to speak truth to power.”
How to drive real change. “We all have a role to play in this struggle for equality and justice, and everybody doesn’t have to be on the front lines with me. That looks like trying to make a difference in your community or take on a mentee who thinks totally differently from you. Help them achieve the American Dream. Being a mentor for that person could end up proving that you learned just as much from them as they did from you. You don’t have to save everybody, but you can make a difference with a few people. For the trial attorneys, support scholarship funds. Hire different people. Do what you can, where you can. Do good and do well.”
Power through. “Every time you go into a courtroom, you make sure that your axe is really sharp that morning. Everything you do is going to accumulate into something that you’re going to have 20 years from now. Though it may be hard at the moment, you’ll be grateful you went through it. The real victory is in the journey.”
What does being a game changer mean to you? “Being a game changer means going into a situation knowing that everybody believes the outcome will be a certain thing, and fighting to make it a different outcome. It’s about trying to change the destinies of these young people that we represent.”
RESOURCES & REFERENCES
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Ku Klux Klan
Plessy v. Ferguson
Florida State University
Brown v. Board of Education
Civil: Ben Crump (Netflix documentary)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Ben Crump Law