Is conviction justice? Justice is George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Tony McDade, Modesto Reyes and Sandra Bland being alive and all people of color leading full lives, without fear of being killed because of the color of their skin.
Justice is transformative, building community and safety with minimal interaction from police. Being dependent and relying on law enforcement in our communities is not a solution. We must defund police and divest from the prison industrial complex. We must invest in alternatives to incarceration, community safety and build a future that relies on an economy of care versus an economy of punishment.
At least 65 people have died at the hands of police in the U.S. during the trial of Derek Chauvin with more than half of them being Black and Latino. This includes children, like Anthony Thompson Jr., 17, killed in Knoxville on April 12, 13-year-old, Adam Toledo killed in Chicago on March 29, and 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, killed in Columbus, Ohio just minutes before the verdict was read.
We know that the current conditions are unacceptable; sustainable safety will not come from police and true justice will not come from courts. We stand with people in the streets who are building a better tomorrow.
We act out of love and solidarity for our Black and Brown brothers and sisters who are targeted by the police and other racist structures. We act because we know that by marking people of color as less human and less deserving, racism serves as the ideological and political lynchpin that withholds social and economic rights from all people. We act out of recognition of the ways in which racist systems have concentrated wealth and power in our families and communities, and out of the responsibilities we therefore carry. As Micheal Collins states, “it is not to political leaders our people must look, but to themselves. Leaders are but individuals, and individuals are imperfect, liable to error and weakness. The strength of the nation will be the strength of the spirit of the whole people.” Though we must all cut the path toward liberation together, those of us who operate with a level of privilege and have been given steadier footing and lighter burdens can and must do our part to remove all barriers in the way.
Anti-racism isn’t a mindset or position. It’s a process and a practice—a way of moving through the world by continually acting to make it better. We commit ourselves to the long, humbling, and difficult work of dismantling racism wherever we see it. When we make mistakes, we will pick up and get started again. We follow the powerful leadership of our Black and Brown colleagues and partners, and of so many visionary movement leaders illuminating the path to justice.