We are in difficult times right now. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade at the hands of police, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and the racial attacks against Christian Cooper and Omar Jimenez are simultaneously a tipping point and a continuation of the state violence that the Black community has endured for centuries.
The reality of our Latinx identity is that we are an intersectional community. Afro-Latinx and the larger Black diaspora have led the struggle for liberation and freedom across our continent. Today, the uprisings we see across this country are a continuation of this legacy.
We can honor this legacy by collectively amplifying Afro-Latinx and Black leadership in the fight for racial justice, coming to a deeper understanding of the divide and conquer forces keeping our communities apart, and joining the frontlines of the struggle.
Police violence is a central component of the systemic racism our communities face. It is imperative that we remember law enforcement, an institution with origins rooted in slave patrols, is not here to protect the communities they police, but rather to protect white communities from the communities they police.
We are tired of the systemic violence against Black members of our communities with no change in policy or leadership, and a lack of criminal charges, verdicts, and justice for families and communities. Equating protests to the murderous actions of the Minneapolis Police Department is wildly disproportionate. The funding and militarization of local police departments, the deployment of the National Guard, and the use of non-lethal projectiles against citizens is unconscionable.
These disparities are also present online. As technologists, we are acutely aware that facial recognition technology will be used overwhelmingly to identify Black protestors and activists across the country. Scraping algorithms will target users based on recent social media activity, threatening our ability to collectively organize our communities for action.
No individual should be perceived as a threat because of the color of their skin or revert to being subservient when in the presence of law enforcement. No one should have to live in fear of police if they haven’t committed a crime. Our government should honor basic rights for all people, regardless of how much melanin they have.
We grieve for all the Black lives lost, as well as for their family and friends. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery deserved to live full lives; they should still be here today.
We grieve for the countless other lives previously lost. We grieve for the generations that have struggled for hundreds of years.
We hope this leads each of us to take some action to change the system because BLACK LIVES MATTER.
We offer the following suggestions:
Talk to your family members, friends, co-workers, etc about these recent murders. If your family member(s) express anti-Black notions or colorism, confront that head-on. For those of us who are non-Black Latinx, it is our responsibility to dismantle anti-Blackness within the community.
Be mindful when sharing images of police brutality and violence against Black people.
Contact elected officials
- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey — (612) 673-2100 — @MayorFrey
- Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey — (850) 891-2000 — @MayorOfTLH
- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer — (502) 574-2003 — @louisvillemayor
- Minneapolis County Attorney Mike Freeman — (612) 348-5500
Support the following organizations doing transformative justice work and supporting communities affected by police violence
- Black Visions Collective
- Reclaim the Block
- Louisville Community Bail Fund
- Northstar Health Collective
- National Black Justice Center
- Antiracist Reading Lists
- Book and Film Lists on Racial Equity
- Center for Racial Justice in Education – Reading Lists
- How to Be An Anti-Racist
- The Anti-Racist Reading List
- This is a great resource for white-identifying allies, but useful for everyone: 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence
- Recursos antirracistas en español
Photo Attribution: ClickOnDetroit.com