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Raising Justice stands for uplifting and empowering all Black womxn

JUNE 16, 2020


LOUISVILLE, K.N. — On March 13th, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor's life came to an abrupt end. A "no—knock" search warrant was issued recklessly and imprudently for Ms. Taylor's home where three police officers stormed into her home and shot her at least eight times. Three months later, in June, the three officers who shot Breonna Taylor and led to her untimely death are yet to be charged for their crimes. The FBI has stated that they will be investigating Ms. Taylor's shooting, Mayor Fischer of Louisville labeled her death as "tragic," and a new law was passed in honor of Ms. Taylor, requiring no-knock warrants to be vetted by the police chief. Despite this, justice has yet to come for Ms. Taylor's family. Breonna should still be alive today. Raising Justice vehemently holds the City of Louisville in contempt of their inaction and complacency. We write this statement today with pain and empathy on our hards. Our work continues to be motivated by the communities, specifically the black and brown communities fighting for their lives on the streets everyday. For an organization that is working towards a future of young people being at the table and changing public safety for the better, it is essential we match that energy internally. We are proud to be an organization that is comprised of half women and non-binary individuals, half Black, and majority Queer-led. The issues we address directly affect our communities. We are young people with voices and stories that demand to be heard so events like this do not happen ever again.

We demand those police officers be held accountable the same way we expect to hold the community accountable. No more Black lives should be lost at the hands of the police. Raising Justice works to change policies and ensure we protect Black and Indigenous bodies, and, when tragically necessary, push for the justice they deserve. 

There is an overall failure to hold police officers accountable for their repeated uses of excessive force. Data from Mapping Police Violence states that 99% of police officers who have killed civilians between 2013-2019 were never charged. Raising Justice demands that officers be held accountable for their actions and actively works to ensure an equal balance of power between the police and their community. Of over 1000 people murdered by the police in 2019, 24% were Black. It is very clear that the justice system further perpetuates racism as it refuses to hold officers accountable time-after-time. We will not be complicit as our friends, family, and even complete strangers are brutalized by a justice system that denies them equality. There is an epidemic of Black and Indigenous people being murdered at the hands of the police and being denied justice by the very system that is supposed to protest them. This is a systematic issue, not one of "one bad apple" spoiling the bunch. 

Cities across the country are spending more money on police departments budgets and settlements then on social services for their residents. Without addressing systematic problems, spending more money on the police fuels the animosity in black and brown communities. What we need are investments in and a seat at the table for communities so they can advocate for themselves and push for the needed accountability measures. 

Raising Justice also demands that the push for equality and reform remain comprehensive. Tony McDade, Dominique Rem'mie fells, and Riah Milton, to name a few, are Black Trans individuals failed by the criminal justice system and society as a whole. Similarly Oluwatoyin Salau and Breonna Taylor are Black Women who were disrespected and murdered at the hands of police. Black women, and Black Queer and Trans folks are too often overlooked in the conversation towards justice, despite the fact that centering their voices is key towards equity and liberty. All Black Lives Matter. All Black Womxn Lives Matter. All Black Trans Lives Matter. The criminal justice system has failed to protect and serve all Black individuals whether it is the act of violence itself or the pattern of officer acquittals that perpetuate these cycles of pain. 

We mourn the unjust deaths that plague of Black community every passing day and we empathize the families of the victims. Raising Justice is dedicated to support, participating in, and contributing to the national push for transformative change. Through various policy and grassroots initiatives, in Oregon and as we venture into Chicago and beyond. We are in a movement to protect Black youth from biased policing, advocating for financial redirection from police funding into community programs, and emphasizing dialogue is only as powerful as the action that follows. We will not find our liberation unless we uplift and protect all Black lives. 



Nico Emmanuel-Henderson

(503) 662-8800

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