We are encouraged that yesterday, Derek Chauvin was held accountable in a court of law for his actions. We hope that this not only makes reimagining policing possible, but compels all of us to work every day to root out racism in all of its many brutal manifestations. As Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in his statement yesterday, “Now the cause of justice is in your hands.”
The YWCA USA report referenced below, We Still Deserve Safety: Ending the Criminalization of Women and Girls of Color, documents how women and girls of color are also impacted by racial profiling and criminalization. The recommendations in the report provide models for reform so that we don’t have any more cases like Ma’Khia Bryant, who was killed in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday at the hands of police.
We believe in justice. We believe in dignity for all. We seek a world of equity and human decency. And we will continue to work for racial justice until our vision is realized – racism and injustice are rooted out, institutions are transformed and all people have the opportunity to thrive.
So Stand Against Racism with us this week, join in the 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge starting today, register for our Equity Summit in May — be part of the transformation. Until Justice Just Is.
Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO, YWCA USA has issued the following statement in response to the conviction:
“This is what justice looks like.
The conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 killing of George Floyd is an indication that the police brutality and violence that has plagued our nation will no longer stand, and the blatant disregard of Black lives and people of color will no longer be tolerated.
Today’s verdict offers a moment of respite and hope, yet we know that much more needs to be done to ensure that no more lives are lost as tragically, senselessly, and unjustly as George Floyd. In too many communities across the country, the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve is often frayed and in some areas is broken. We have been and continue to be challenged by the daily trauma of excessive police force, racial violence, and brutality in our communities. Our hearts and prayers remain with the family of George Floyd as they continue to grieve the loss of their father, husband, brother, and friend, and to all those who have suffered the loss of their loved ones as a result of police violence.
Recommendations like those found in YWCA’s report, We Still Deserve Safety: Ending the Criminalization of Women and Girls of Color, provide a blueprint for ending the police violence against people of color and for advancing racial justice and safety measures that protect communities of color from harm by law enforcement, school resource officers, immigration authorities, and other state actors. It is our hope that law enforcement agencies and policymakers will take these recommendations seriously; that they will join together with communities in the difficult conversations and actions necessary to reimagine policing and public safety, and to heal from the racial trauma we have witnessed and endured.
Our democracy requires nothing less from each of us as we continue our pursuit for justice, civil rights, and a world where justice just is.”
Additional racial justice and policy recommendations from YWCA USA can be found in Advancing Justice, Safety, & Accountability (2020), Civil Rights Coalition Letter on Federal Policing Priorities, Civil Rights Principles for Safe, Healthy, and Inclusive School Climates, Families Belong Together and Free, We Deserve Safety, and YWCA and Racial Justice.