On May 25, 2020, George Floyd – a brother, a father, and a friend to many – was killed by four police officers. We are devastated by the murder of George Floyd and we are standing in solidarity to fight against injustice because we believe as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
We, the Young Women’s Initiative Cabinet members, are fighting together with the people who are demanding action and justice for George Floyd and all black lives that have been lost to police brutality. As a young women’s cabinet, we cannot stay true to ourselves and to our values without first accepting responsibility for our own complicity in perpetuating systemic racism.
The Young Women’s Initiative is a public/private partnership between the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the Governor’s Office. Centered around the leadership of young women of color, the group is comprised of American Indians, residents from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities. The Initiative is designed to create a Minnesota where every young woman can thrive.
The history of racism in our country that has brought us to this point is one we recognize all too well. We mourn the fact that, even in 2020, communities of color – particularly the Black community – live in fear of losing a loved one at the hands of police brutality steeped in institutional racism. Across our state we must do better. The length of time it takes a case to be prosecuted and for justice to be served must be shortened.
Our state and our country are experiencing great unrest and unprecedented social and political activism from all sides. Thousands of young people have organized and mobilized in movements across the country, demanding justice not only for the killing of George Floyd by the hands of law enforcement, but also for Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sandra Bland Philando Castille, Jamar Clark and so many other black men and women whose lives were seen as disposable.
Regardless of location, class, race, or ethnicity we all have the right to be upset. These historic, national uprisings from the community are a response to the culmination of injustices and inequities that have been harming black and brown bodies for centuries. As a statewide initiative, members of our Cabinet stand in solidarity, from Worthington and Waseca, to the Twin Cities. The use of deadly force and tactics that disproportionately harm communities of color can be found all across our state. We want to see a Minnesota where all communities of color can thrive, and for that reason we are on the side of justice. To that end, we issue this call to action:
Call to Action:
- Educate ourselves and communities about the issue of anti-blackness and the racism that we see perpetuated in other communities of color and beyond.
- We want to see an education system that does not hide from its past, but authentically includes the history of race, racism and its impact on communities, economies, and the environment.
- Defund the Minneapolis Police Department and invest in community initiatives that will help keep our communities safe. Adequate and equitable funding in education, healthcare, and employment is key to keeping our communities safe.
- We demand clear policies of accountability for past and present police-related deaths of unarmed citizens.
“Change isn’t going to happen by just asking for justice – action has to be taken, justice is not quiet.” Marianna Cervantes
Contributors: Zaynab Abdi, Nayzeth Muniz, Marina Cervantes, Benya Kraus, Athena Cloud, La’Shante Grigsby