Content Warning: Police Violence, State Violence, Racism, Murder
OAESV condemns the state violence that has been weaponized against Black people in Ohio communities and beyond. This violence is ongoing, unacceptable, relentless, and gut-wrenching, as we’ve seen in the past weeks with Casey Goodson, Jr., Kwamaine O’Neal, Andre’ Hill, Brandon Bernard, Alfred Bourgeois, Anjanette Young, and additional community members who may be unknown.
OAESV strongly condemns the tactics and bureaucratic obstructions used in these instances and continues to call for systemic racism to be addressed within Law Enforcement and Legal Systems, as well as in anti-violence work.
For the third time in two weeks, a Black Man was killed by law enforcement in Ohio. We speak the names Casey Goodson Jr., Kwamaine O’Neal, and Andre’ Hill. We are horrified, outraged, traumatized, and tired of seeing and hearing our communities demand change with little in return from decision-makers. We join our Ohio communities and partners in mourning; grieving; and demanding accountability on behalf of law enforcement and government leadership, support for the families and communities impacted, and change within the system and in our communities.
On a federal level, for the second time in two weeks, a Black Man was executed by the state. As an organization we are not taking a stance on the death penalty or other details of these cases, nor are we directing victims and survivors of violence to seek justice in any one particular way. While we recognize that survivors of sexual violence have a wide array of political ideologies regarding the death penalty and various forms of justice regarding sexual violence, we recognize that these executions are connected to racism, classism, and state violence, and contribute to the community-wide issue of sexual violence (ACLU). We say the names of Brandon Bernard and Alfred Bourgeois.
Additionally, members of the public, like Anjanette Young of Chicago, Illinois, have recently been speaking about brutalization they have endured at the hands of law enforcement, and these truths were recently corroborated by body cam footage. Data confirms that law enforcement are much more likely to use force against Black individuals (BJS.gov). Law Enforcement are four times more likely to use force or threaten force against Black people; 4 times more likely to push, grab, hit, or kick Black people; and 8 times more likely to point or shoot a gun at Black individuals.
We cannot ask you to believe survivors, without also asking you to believe Black communities and affirm that Black Lives Matter. We cannot ask you to practice safety and social distancing without recognizing how our collective response has the most impact on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color during a global pandemic. We cannot continue to work in an anti-violence, care-centered field without recognizing the collective trauma these deaths and systemic racism have on our colleagues, neighbors, family members, and communities. We cannot strive to end sexual violence without recognizing the ways in which our systems continue to cause and replicate trauma and violence. As a field, we cannot continue working with state systems and funders without strategizing and taking action for systems change.
Racism is pervasive in not only law enforcement and legal systems, but systems in which Rape Crisis Centers, Sexual Violence Programs, Coordinated Community Response Teams, Preventionists, and Advocates work. To Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the anti-sexual violence movement: we see you, we will continue to strive to do right by you and align our actions to validate that you matter. We call on our partners to dedicate themselves and their organizations to anti-racism and act in solidarity with the survivors of police violence and families impacted.
Please watch social media as we share direct actions to support victims, families of victims, and community members in the wake of this violence.
For questions or comment, please contact Taylr Ucker-Lauderman, Director of Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.