Our community is filled with alternating rage and sadness for the family of George Floyd in the wake of his brazen killing by Minneapolis police. We stand in solidarity and protest with people who are victims of state violence. At ARC, we believe communities and individuals are stronger when they are safe, healthy, and whole. Further, we see clearly how the interlocking systems of white supremacy and criminal justice deem some lives more valuable than others, in the wake of the recent deaths of #AhmaudArbery and #BreonnaTaylor.

George Floyd was killed in part because collectively our society believes black lives can be discarded. It’s what we see in the carceral systems we fight to change every day. The same society that authorizes police violence against black people is also responsible for Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP) sentences, and prisons that dehumanize people day in and day out for years. This same society is responsible for extreme sentencing laws, gang enhancements, and a prison system that prioritizes punishment and family separation over rehabilitation.

It must be noted that if George Floyd was not brazenly killed in broad daylight, he would have been taken to a jail where, in our present time, he would have been at significant risk for COVID-19, other ill-treatment, and further dehumanization. He would have had his life upended like many members of our community do every day as they come into contact with systems that treat particular communities as entirely worthy of being discarded. Mr. Floyd’s life should not have ended in the horrific manner it did. The alternative, jail confinement, would have also been tragic. The stories of those who are killed by police violence and those who have been incarcerated both reflect the way society has chosen to respond to the needs of communities of color.

It is incumbent upon us, whether as individuals or members of community-based organizations, to radically reimagine our society as one that extends to all the opportunity to live dignified lives, and that strives to find ways to meet the needs of communities of color, rather than new ways to penalize them. In America, this freedom and justice work is local, and so we encourage you to support the organizations on the ground in Minneapolis fighting systems that oppress our people. Please follow and support the work to dismantle systems in Minneapolis, groups like Black Visions Collective and Minnesota Freedom Fund. You might also consider donating to the the George Floyd Memorial Fund, created by his family.

While Minneapolis was home to George Floyd, in Los Angeles our partners like Black Lives Matter-LA and S.T.O.P. Police Violence Statewide Coalition are fighting the same struggle in the names of Wakeisha Wilson, Eric Rivera, Charley Keunang, AJ Weber, and too many others.

In LA, ARC mobilizes with the #CheckTheSheriff Coalition, alongside our community partners, where we call for real transparency, accountability, and community oversight of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and call for justice and resources for families and persons harmed by deputies.

No one should have their loved ones stolen from them. We must dismantle this racist system and replace it with one that accepts all of us equally and in which the senseless killing of people of color by the state—whether at the hands of the police or the carceral system—has come to an end.  In the meantime, we must continue to demand that our system holds those in power accountable for wrongdoing. We will continue the grassroots fight for our people in prisons, jails, detention centers, and those coming home from incarceration because #WeMatterToo and our future is freedom.

#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #WeMatterToo