The deaths of Black people by law enforcement and vigilantes is the result of centuries-old anti-Black attitudes flanked by prejudicial legislation and a “Wild Wild West” approach to law and order meant to intimidate Black people and control our behavior. Many elements—such as racist stereotypes, stand-your-ground laws, law enforcement and vigilantism that have treated Black people with a guilty-until-proven innocent approach, and antiquated policing systems with roots in slave catching—coalesce to create a network of deadly terror for Black communities nationwide. This network, compounded by a criminal legal system with a history of antipathy toward us, wreaks havoc on Black bodies like George, Ahmaud, and Breonna.
Right now, uprisings are taking place in all 50 states, and more than two-thirds of Americans agree that police violence is systemic. We haven’t experienced mass mobilizations like this since the uprisings led by courageous Black folks in Ferguson and St. Louis. These actions include small towns, as well as major cities in both red and blue regions.The energy is sustained and escalating. The Movement for Black Lives is alive and vibrant.
Juneteenth is a day that honors Black freedom and Black resistance, and centers Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice in the U.S. This Juneteenth is a rare moment for our communities to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter, and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice for all our people.