In response to a Kentucky grand jury’s decision in the murder of Breonna Taylor, Jodi Risper, Movement Politics Director of Citizen Action of New York, released the following statement:

Right now, Black women across the country are afraid that when they close their eyes at night, they will be shot down in their own home like Breonna Taylor. What is sad about the grand jury’s decision is that the outcome was expected. It was apparent from the beginning that there would be no real justice for Breonna, her family and the millions of broken hearts around the world. 

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping in her bed when officers illegally raided her home, shooting her multiple times, yet no police officer was charged with murder. I have always known that existing in my Black body means that I’m always in danger, but Breonna’s case made it clear: As a Black person your life rests in the hands of white supremacy. In a country that was founded on white supremacy, Black lives remain disposable. 

“In New York, we watched Eric Garner be murdered on camera, yet his killer was only recently fired. In Rochester, we saw a citywide effort to cover up the murder of Daniel Prude. The only reason these cases had any, albeit small, movement towards justice, was because we saw these men’s lives being taken on camera. If Black trauma and murder is not caught on camera then their lives, their pain is not important. Since the murders of Eleanor Bumpurs, Michelle Cusseaux, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Korryn Gaines, Alberta Spruill, Sandra Bland and countless others, justice has been denied in this system for Black Americans.

“Defunding the police is not a catch-phrase. It is a demand by Black Americans and our allies that the attack on Black lives must end. It is a demand that our communities be given a fair chance to thrive—that you put back the money stolen from our education system and divest from the police. It is a demand to give us the same mental health resources given to white suburbs and to stop criminalizing mental illness within the Black community. It is a demand that in a pandemic, instead of criminalizing poverty, those most impacted receive the most help. 

Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not enough. Black women are mourning, praying for our mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers, cousins and friends, because we live in a world that devalues us. As we mourn, give us our space and be aware of our pain, and take this as a call to action. We must defend Black Lives and protect Black Women. We can no longer wait.”