On Monday, May 25th, four police officers, including Officer Derek Chauvin and Officer Tou Thao, murdered 46-year old George Floyd, in his home city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. George Floyd is the most recent victim of state-sanctioned police brutality aimed at Black people, marking the 1,014th murder by U.S. police in the past year.
Despite being in the midst of a pandemic that has left nearly 100,000 people dead, the violence targeting Black communities has continued unabated. Just three months ago, Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, was killed by police officers in her home in Louisville after they surveiled and assaulted her. And, just weeks ago, the nation woke up to bystander documentation of Ahmaud Arbery’s February murder at the hands of a white former police officer in Georgia. The inherent racism of the policing system continues to be exploited by individuals to target people of color, as documented this past Monday, when a white woman threatened a Black man in Central Park by saying she would call the police “and tell them there’s an African-American man threatening [her] life” when he calmly asked her to leash her dog according to the park’s rules.
“As South Asians and Asian Americans, we must acknowledge, confront, and dismantle anti-Blackness in our own communities,” said SAALT’s Executive Director, Lakshmi Sridaran. “Our communities often rely on the racist criminal justice system to address hate violence aimed at our own communities while the root cause of this violence is the government and its policies. And, like the aforementioned Asian American Minneapolis Officer Tou Thao, we also have the power to enact anti-Blackness by trusting and reinforcing the violence of the criminal justice system. During this time of crisis, as we see a rise in anti-Asian violence in response to COVID-19, we must interrogate our reliance and belief in policing and police, and confront the anti-Blackness that plagues our communities. SAALT is reinvigorating its commitment to combating anti-Blackness within and across our communities by working with existing and new allies in Black and Brown communities.”
It is during times of crisis that racist systems of policing, enforcement, monitoring, and surveillance are fortified. Yet, there is hope for recourse and justice and a world where police officers are held accountable for murder. We’re urging community members to sign this Color of Change petition, demanding that the four police officers who killed George Floyd be charged with murder and to join Community Resource Hub’s COVID-19 Policing Tracker, to help track COVID-19 related surveillance.