The murder of George Floyd is not an anomaly in the context of violence against people of color. The most public media-driven victims of violence include, but are not limited to, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery. It’s unconscionable for not only the police, but also citizens to murder people of color with impunity. Police brutality has been a reality since the creation of law enforcement. The police and the justice system have shirked their duties to protect the citizens of the United States. It should not take the presence of danger for the police to protect citizens and take action. Everyone deserves to be protected by the police.
In this year alone, there have been over 100 civilians who have been shot, 31 of whom were Black, as of March 30, 2020. In 2018, there were 1,143 fatal police shootings, and in 2019 this figure increased to 1,099.1 These statistics fail to mention the thousands of families and friends who needlessly lost a loved one. Student CTA stands in solidarity with the families that were left behind in the wake of these senseless killings. There has been and continues to be little to no justice for these families. The lack of reform deliberately encourages these tragedies.
Student CTA stands in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement in schools and our communities. Across multiple platforms, we have seen the response for “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matters” which we do not condone or accept. These statements/countermovements are a form of gaslighting that minimizes the oppression that Black individuals face in the United States every day. It invalidates and erases hundreds of years of oppression and systematic racism that continues to happen today.
These statements/countermovements represent a form of intentional colorblind racism spawned from white fragility and bolstered by white terrorism. They refuse to acknowledge that the United States does not value all lives in the same way. In unity with the Student CTA mission statement, we will call out behaviors that continue to support White Supremacy Culture such as these statements/countermovements. Black lives matter.
Police violence is not exclusively an issue that pertains to the streets, but in our education systems as well. The legacy of white supremacy has tainted the curriculum in such a way to uphold this system of violence.
Therefore, Student CTA calls upon our members and communities to demand structural change such as:
- Stopping police terrorism in communities of color
- Criminalize deadly force/ police brutality
- Stop militarization of policing
- Consistent de-escalation and anti-racist training
- Student CTA members and Community College Association (CCA) to reach out to their Associated Student Government for a call for null and void their contracts with police departments and campus safety
- CTA members to push for a null and void of School Resource Officers (SRO) and policing on their sites.
- Petition to reallocate police liability insurance funds to cover victims’ family legal and medical expenses, and affected communities mental health resources
- Create alternatives to zero-tolerance policies that utilize mental health professionals and end the school-to-prison pipeline
- Mandate Black Lives Matter training and curriculum in schools for teachers and students
Police have no reason to use force or arrest those involved in protesting and other actions in response to the murder of George Floyd. In this time, we ask all of you to continue the dialogue surrounding this incident in a respectful manner that does not devalue while holding ourselves accountable. In addition, we encourage people to learn about protest as a legitimate response to oppression. The media is complicit in racism in the ways it portrays riots and protests from people of color. In the following days, Student CTA will collaborate with our members to create a campaign for #BlackLivesMatter.