Last week, four police officers murdered George Floyd, a Black man, father, and community member. In March, an officer entered the home of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman and EMT, with no warning and shot her to death. These murders, and the violence that the police have subsequently enacted against Black people seeking justice across the country—is unconscionable, but it is not new. The pain and trauma of this moment is by design, compounded by the weight of generations of systematic, institutionalized, government-sanctioned violence and racism against Black people. As we all have seen, Black communities in America are not only facing the disproportionately devastating harm of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the pandemic of deeply entrenched racism.
DCFPI recognizes the strength and resilience of the protestors seeking justice, and we join them in their righteous anger, pain, and weariness. The demonstrations over the past several days are an outpouring of the countless injustices of state-sanctioned oppression waged against Black people for generations. Our city needs healing and justice. We need District leaders who will commit to racial equity and justice in action. That means rejecting violent, militarized police tactics that are designed to incite fear, escalate tensions, and further oppress our communities—as we witnessed in horror, again, in front of the White House last evening. It also means enacting a budget that reduces investments in the police, boosts investments in Black communities and community-led safety programs, and dismantles the racist policies that perpetuate the disparities we see across DC today—in housing, income, education, and health.
A first step towards accountability would be for the Metropolitan Police Department to release the names of the officers involved in the deaths of DC residents D’Quan Young, Marqueese Alston, and Jeff Price in 2018—just as the ACLU of DC, Black Lives Matter, and the victims’ families have been demanding for years. We honor the memories of George Floyd and other lives lost to police violence by committing to uproot structural racism and advance racial and ethnic justice.