In 2020, the murder of George Floyd sparked a new wave of nation-wide protests in support of the movement for Black lives and against police brutality. The movement made the realities of violence against Black people by law enforcement throughout the US impossible to ignore. We are living in a moment where our collective understanding of race-based violence in the US is shifting and we are confronted with evaluating our action or inaction in supporting movements to respond to and prevent police violence both locally and nationally.
While Disability Rights Washington celebrates the fact that Derek Chauvin is being held accountable for his murder of George Floyd, we cannot ignore that accountability here does nothing to address the many deaths of Black people by law enforcement that have occurred before and since this murder. This conviction, although an important and necessary example of accountability, is not a systemic solution to the violence and harm against BIPOC communities by law enforcement.
In this moment, Disability Rights Washington wants to make clear our position that systemic action needs to be taken to decriminalize BIPOC communities, defund and dismantle our current system of policing and law enforcement, and rebuild a system that is safe for everyone. Police brutality and violence against Black people will not cease unless radical changes are made to dismantle the culture and systems of police and law enforcement that currently exist.
Disability Rights Washington is moving toward a Disability Justice framework that centers intersectional identities and values collective liberation. We will work to actively support systemic and radical change to abolish our current systems of law enforcement and incarceration in solidarity with our staff, colleagues, friends, families, constituents, neighbors, and larger community of Washingtonians who cannot live safely while these systems continue to exist.
If you are leading or participating in efforts to eradicate racism by law enforcement here in Washington, either in your local community or statewide, and you think there is a way Disability Rights Washington could help your efforts, please feel free to reach out directly to our Director of Advocacy, David Carlson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.