Still Working Toward Justice and Dismantling White Supremacy – Take Action With Us to Support the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act
April 22, 2021
Two days ago, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on all three counts, confirming the painful truth that Black communities have always known in this country: that racist police violence is an ever-present danger—and a part of the systemic oppression that our nation was built upon. White supremacy is at the foundation of this system; we name it and recognize the role it has historically played when determining who is guilty and who is not, even when it is recorded for all to plainly see. It is white supremacy and the privilege that it lent to Derek Chauvin that made many of us wonder if he was truly going to be held accountable. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates put it best, saying, “whiteness is neither notional nor symbolic, but is the very core of his power”.
Despite this verdict being a step towards accountability, it is not justice, and it is certainly not enough. The law enforcement system has failed, and we hear it in the stories of Black survivors who think twice about calling 911. We also see tragic daily reminders: not long after this verdict was announced, 15 year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black girl in Columbus, Ohio, was killed after calling 911 and requesting help from the police. Ma’Khia’s name has become yet another hashtag and is proof that we still have a long way to go. Our work does not end here.
As Tarana Burke, Founder of the ’me too.’ Movement, and Justice for Black Girls stated, ”We protect Black girls without qualification or apology. There will never be a justification for our death. Black girls’ lives matter no matter how they show up, no matter how many mistakes they make. They deserve full access to their humanity, they deserve adults who help them navigate adolescence.”
Ma’Khia Bryant’s life mattered. George Floyd’s life mattered. To say that and live up to its full meaning, we must follow the lead of Black activists who have been calling for justice over many generations. In order to truly live up to our collective goal to prevent violence, it is critical to lessen our overreliance on the criminal legal system and fully fund community-based alternatives. This is what true justice looks like. Justice would mean that Ma’Khia, George, and countless others would still be alive and well with us today. Justice is Black, Indigenous, Native, People of Color, survivors, families, and communities living their lives freely without fear.
There is something each of us can do right now to make these strides towards justice: support the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act (Kamlager) which is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. This invests in the ability of community-based organizations—not police—to respond to local crises, including domestic violence. We strongly believe that with more options for survivors in emergency situations, this will improve the health and safety of California communities. It is critical that the Assembly Appropriations Committee hear from domestic violence and social justice organizations to submit a letter of support.
We, advocates, preventionists, activists, and policy influencers are living in a pivotal moment to advance human rights. Yesterday’s verdict can be more than just one important moment in our history. At this reckoning moment, more than ever, WE need to continue taking action in the spaces we inhabit and create new ways of being conduits to justice and collective healing.
We must remember this as we strive towards collective liberation and the end of violence for all.
Today and every day, we affirm that Black Lives Matter.