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What We're Reading: Criminal Justice Edition

Thursday, May 13, 2021
by Krystle Chipman, Collaborative Philanthropy Coordinator and Nicole Giles, Strategic Initiatives Associate, Northern California Grantmakers
 

This May marks the anniversary of what many have referred to as the beginning of new moment of racial reckoning in the U.S. On May 25, 2020, a world confined by a global pandemic witnessed George Floyd, a Black, 46-year-old, father, son and brother, be callously murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George Floyd was one of many victims of anti-Black violence whose name rose to national attention last summer, alongside Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, and countless others. Their murders furthered the already deepening unrest in the U.S. due to COVID-19, the inequities it laid bare, its disproportionate impact on the physical, emotional, and economic well-being of BIPOC communities, and the increased prevalence of white supremacist fueled violence, mainly against Asian American communities.

The culmination of these multiple forms of state violence coupled with the decades-long pressure from community to address systemic inequities made it widely clear that we must name and address anti-Black racism as the root cause of these inequities. It also made clear that each have a role to play in dismantling anti-Black systemic racism and the white supremacy that it breeds. Acknowledging and addressing the way anti-Blackness presents itself in our institutions, in our cultures, and in our systems opens the door for us to understand how achieving all intersections of justice – racial, gender, economic, etc. – starts by supporting those most impacted by the harm of anti-Black racism.

As we consider our roles, it is important to remember that justice is defined not by our own definitions but by the communities directly experiencing injustice. It is also important to keep in sight how our roles align with, support and uplift the existing work of community organizers who have long advocated for restorative and healing justice as common practice, rather than forms of justice defined by the same systems and institutions that uphold structural racism. Please consider the articles and podcasts below as resources to help you understand and shape the role you can play, both personally and within your institutions, as we work to advance racial justice.

1. We Want More Justice For Breonna Taylor Than The System That Killed Her Can Deliver

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2. The George Floyd Act wouldn't have saved George Floyd’s life. That says it all 

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3. 1 in 5 Prisoners in the U.S. Has Had COVID-19

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4. When Equity Became Meaningless

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5. Join the Abolitionist Movement (with Mariame Kaba) | Rebel Steps

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