Black women and men are in danger. Black girls and boys are in danger. Black families are in danger. We are becoming an ever-increasing endangered population.
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) seeks the protection of Black people from state sanctioned violence. We call for justice for Breonna Taylor, her family, and community.
The police murder of Breonna Taylor is a form of state violence that has become too common in the lives of Black women, men and children. The same shielding afforded to others, equal protection under the law, were denied to her and continues to be denied to us as her family, community, and rightful mourners. Breonna’s life, her promise, and her humanity were taken from us all abruptly and without provocation.
Shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020, the world learned again that policing practices and attitudes which place every Black man, woman and child in mortal danger continue to rule the day. Despite countless recent examples, police departments and governing bodies across the nation resist the reforms that would provide us due process and save the lives of our loved ones from wrongful death and murder. We have waited nearly 200 days and now must wait yet again for justice for Breonna….as we continue to do for so many others.
The police murder of unarmed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor resulted in one indictment for wanton endangerment and Attorney General Daniel Cameron finding no cause for murder charges in the case. Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were found to be justified in their use of force. Brett Hankison has since been fired and could face a penalty of one to five years in prison. This is not justice.
We must seek to enact change at the local levels of government as well as the federal level. This November when faced with choices on whom to vote for, we ask that you consider the issues most impacting our community. We recognize that there are many. However, we ask that you especially consider this one: the need for institutional changes in policing across America.
ASALH calls its members and friends to action in defense of Breonna Taylor. We must raise the alarm and call for a special prosecutor in this case; we must demand an indictment of all three men; and vigilantly seek to reform policing in our communities. These actions will help ensure that the ongoing federal investigation will not replicate the miscarriage of justice perpetuated by the grand jury and Kentucky Attorney General Cameron.
ASALH Committee for Social Concerns