In New York 6 years ago, Eric Garner’s last words were identical to George Floyd’s this week as a Minneapolis police officer choked George to death: “I can’t breathe.”
Police across the country continue to kill Black people with no repercussions. What happened to Eric Garner, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others are not anomalies.
The thread that runs through each of these police killings is the same that leads to more Black and Brown people dying or being hospitalized with Covid-19. It’s an economic and social system that’s rooted in racism and extracts wealth and resources from Black bodies and Black communities with impunity. It’s the struggle against this system – to reimagine and transform it – that drives the work we do day in and day out at Citizen Action.
We must demand justice for George Floyd and his family and an end to a white supremacist legal system that dismisses Black life and protects killer cops. Here are actions you can take right now:
- Donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund and support local Black youth organizers on the ground in Minneapolis
- Pledge to join our movement to #DemandJustice and connect with a Citizen Action chapter in your community
- Tell state legislators to end police secrecy: Repeal 50-a and pass the Police STAT Act
The Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck had 18 previous complaints against him. The Minneapolis Police Department kills Black people at a rate 13 times higher than white people. Minneapolis is not unique.
Our country has criminalized being Black. In the name of “public safety” the justice system is wielded as a weapon to terrorize our friends, family and neighbors. We must completely flip the narrative of what public safety looks like and means from one based on punishment and violence, to one that values Black lives and centers community investment, healing and alternatives to incarceration.
We must stay committed to truth and justice, even in this midst of an endless onslaught of tragedy that surrounds us.
Rosemary Rivera and Jess Wisneski
Citizen Action of New York