Listen to Black Women
Yes, sign my name to this letter!
Dear Mayor Fischer,
More than 5 months have passed since Breonna Taylor was shot to death in her home by Louisville police officers. As Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, said in an interview in May, “I want justice for her. I want them to say her name. There’s no reason Breonna should be dead at all.”
In the long history of racism in this country, the safety of white women (especially our so-called ‘protection’ from Black men) has been used to justify calls for law and order. All women are being denied justice in areas of our health, control over our own bodies, pay equity, and more. But Black women along with all Black Americans inhabit a society where injustice based on skin color permeates every single facet of life. The silence of the majority of white people, including white women, on the issue of racial injustice, allows race based inequity and violence to continue with devastating consequences.
As white women, we refuse to be silent. Mayor Fischer, we are calling on you to listen to Black women.
Listen to Black women like Breonna’s mother. Listen to the Black women who are leading on the streets, putting their own lives at risk crying out for justice. Listen to Black women who work every day to make this a better community, who tend to all the ways that the legacy of racism, in this community and communities across this country, have left people behind.
In the months since Breonna was killed a cry has gone out across the world. Those calling for Justice for Breonna number in the millions. Buildings and streets carry Breonna’s image in spaces all over the globe. Here in our hometown, tens of thousands have taken to the streets. People have held rallies in small towns across the Commonwealth. Locally over 500 people have been arrested during protests, streets have been blocked, a bridge was impassable for hours, children’s marches, student marches, teacher marches, clergy marches have all been held, and car caravans numbering hundreds of vehicles have snaked through our streets at all hours of the day and night. A multi racial community demanding justice has taken up residence in front of Metro Hall for over two months. Led by Black women, people have called you, sent you letters, and met with you calling on you to be a leader in this pivotal and searingly urgent moment.
Through it all there has been overwhelming unity around the demand to fire the officers involved in killing Breonna. There is growing agreement that deep institutional changes are needed in policing and that this city must answer the call for racial and economic justice being raised by Black Louisville and supported in increasing numbers by the rest of Louisville as well.
You have told many of us that you do not know what to do, that your hands are tied. We think you will know and will lead--if you truly listen.
No matter what you do next, our city cannot move forward with moral integrity and faith in a better future without the firing of the officers involved in Breonna’s death. There is no leaping over Breonna Taylor’s body to the broader changes you and we know are necessary. These are tied together and cannot be pried apart. Listen to Black women, Mayor Fischer, and fire the police officers who killed Breonna. Then we can step across a threshold and onto the path of compassion and justice our city and the world needs now.
(List of white women names in alpha order by last name)
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