BayLegal Statement on Police Violence and Racial Injustice

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At Bay Area Legal Aid, our hearts are with the family of Daunte Wright and the people of Brooklyn Center who have lost a sibling, a child, and a neighbor at the hands of state violence. We are also holding in our hearts the families and communities throughout the country who have already been re-traumatized by the public focus on the details of the police killing of George Floyd and who have once again been reminded of how precarious the safety of their own families and loved ones is.

The recitation of always another act of state violence against Black lives risks numbing us to the reality of what is taken by this violence. Daunte Wright’s family and community remember “an amazing uncle and a wonderful father,” with an irrepressible sense of humor and dreams of starting his own business. His relationships and experiences and impact on those who knew him are a world. Every Black life taken by state violence is the death of a world of possibilities, joys, and struggles. We ask ourselves today to pause and acknowledge the gravity of such a loss, and all such losses, as part of how we mobilize ourselves and our communities to fight for the liberation of all oppressed peoples.

The police shooting of Daunte Wright again raises the need for immediate reforms of our law enforcement system and civil legal system, including the structural inequities and racism embedded in fees, fines and sanctions for failure to appear that disproportionately impact Black and other communities of color. BayLegal is committed to continuing to address structural racism and inequities within our civil legal system and the impacts of aggressive and racist policing in our clients’ lives.

However, as we wrote in our statement last summer shortly after the police killing of George Floyd, “We recognize that racism and white supremacy is entrenched in every aspect of our society.” The racial police terror that continues to take Black lives and to threaten collective Black life is as deep and as long as our nation’s history. It is intertwined, as we wrote last summer, with the many ways in which “Black people are dealt a very different standard of justice—from policing to access to housing, education and employment to mass incarceration—and that Black lives are systematically oppressed by the unjust legal system in which we operate.” What is needed is a fundamental transformation of our society, at every level and in every aspect. From our grief and outrage today, we renew our commitment to defending Black lives and fighting for racial justice, equity, and liberation.

Rest in peace and power, Daunte Wright.

Black Lives Matter.

In solidarity,
Bay Area Legal Aid