Today’s verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse repeats a far too familiar pattern in which paramilitary violence directed against Black people struggling for liberation and their allies operates with state sanction. At Bay Area Legal Aid, we stand in the firm conviction that regardless of the outcome of this case, non-state racial terror cannot be tolerated, and that armed white vigilantes cannot be allowed to police bodies of color with lethal force.
We also recognize that this paramilitary presence has been a consistent feature of white supremacy in the United States throughout our history. Black people and allies of Black liberation have always faced the threat of violence from non-state terror, with varying degrees of approval and at times active support from political and legal institutions. Beyond this extralegal threat, the underlying issue in Kenosha—the complete lack of legal accountability for the police shooting of Jacob Blake—repeats a well-established pattern of anti-Black state violence operating with legal impunity and in many cases the tacit or explicit approval of “official” politics.
At BayLegal we see the links between vigilante terror and the structurally racist violence of policing and politics, along with the huge disparities in civil justice, access to healthcare and education, housing, and political and social participation and enfranchisement and commit to act against these systems. We stand with those who continue to struggle for the dismantling of white supremacy and the emergence of a racially just society—and we know that, as we are reminded by today’s verdict, the road leading to that goal remains long, difficult, and often dangerous.
We also know that regardless of the legal outcome, the centering of white violence in response to Black liberation struggles that has characterized the intensive media focus on this trial may have triggered post-traumatic stress among our clients, community members, and our colleagues who have been affected by this violence. In reaffirming our commitment to stand in struggle with all who seek liberation, we also want to point to resources for self- and community care and healing. These include:
- Mental Health Resources of Alameda County
- Bay Area Mental Health Resources
- My UC SF Resources
- Mental Health Board SF
- Therapy for Black Girls
- Therapy for Black Men
- Association of Black Psychologists
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- South Asian Therapists
- Therapy for Latinx
- Latinx Therapy
- Native American Health Center – Behavioral Health
- Psychology Today Directory
BayLegal employees can receive EAP and crisis Counseling through their health insurance plans.
Contributors: Taylor Brady, Mynesha Whyte, Jessica Mark, Maighna Jain