The following is an excerpt from the Data for Black Lives Statement of Solidarity with Black Minnesotans, by Yeshimabeit Milner (@YESHICAN). I’m posting it as a way to amplify her voice. Please click through to read the entire essay. If you share it on social platforms, please share her Medium post directly.
We at Data for Black Lives are enraged by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. We join other organizations in urging Hennepin County DA to charge the officers that murdered George Floyd immediately. We believe that is necessary to support demands to defund and abolish the police. But it cannot stop there. We have to recognize that murder at the hands of law enforcement is only one form of state sanctioned violence.
Policing is a byproduct of larger, more insidious, but often less visible systems. Police exist to protect white capital and to reinforce already existing economic and political conditions. We know that when we see aggressive policing practices — behind it are the most brutal forms of economic and social inequality.
We will not wait for another tragedy to be in solidarity with Black communities in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota. Because for Black people all across America, the recent tragedy in Minneapolis and the ongoing injustice that Black Minnesotans have faced for years, is a metaphor for our world.
Data for Black Lives is a movement of scientists and activists working to make data a tool for social change, instead of a weapon of political oppression. Since the inception of Data for Black Lives, a major focus of my work as Executive Director has been to keep my ear to the ground — to seek out and learn from leaders in cities across this country who are working in the trenches of the most oppressive conditions. Through our hubs program, conference and other movement building, I find ways to support and amplify their leadership at the national and global level.Continue…
Image by Data for Black Lives: “Since the year 2000, 25% (total of 49) of the people killed by the police in Minneapolis- St Paul were Black. We honor the memories of everyone whose lives were cut short due to state-sanctioned murder. Here are some of their faces. Out of respect for the dead and their families, we have not included the images of several of the people who had been killed as the only photos available on the database are mugshots. More information can be found here.”