Discrimination and police violence against the Black community and other people of color is nothing new. These are not broken systems; they were built on stolen land and designed to control, contain, and exploit the lives and labor of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Police brutality did not begin with George Floyd or Dion Johnson or Ahmaud Arbery or Breonna Taylor or Tony McDade, Philando Castile or Freddie Gray or Michael Brown or Eric Garner or Trayvon Martin, or any of the men and women whose lives were taken, but whose names have not been uplifted. On May 25th, we witnessed murder. We watched George Floyd beg for help, for water, for his mother, all before he took his last breath under the knee and full weight of the State. What more is it going to take before leadership in this country uses their power to end racism and white supremacy?
The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (ACESDV) stands in solidarity with the Black community during these tragic and traumatic events, and will continue to stand with people of color to uproot systemic racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. We are committed to working together to end violence in all forms by dismantling oppression in Arizona and promoting equity among all people.
At ACESDV we view violence and oppression as mutually sustaining. Sexual and domestic violence cannot end as long as law enforcement and other state entities continue to replicate the manipulation and harm so frequently experienced by survivors. The roots of these forms of violence are the same. State violence is among the most insidious forms of control meant to silence, enslave, and terrorize people of color into submission. We are deeply saddened to witness the continued dehumanization and dismissal of people of color in this country—from the violence and callousness of police, to the COVID-19 outbreaks impacting immigrants in detention centers, the decimation of Native communities, and the marginalization of LGBTQ+ people.
Other institutionalized forms of discrimination continue to indirectly kill the Black community, Indigenous communities, and People of Color by limiting access to health care, housing, education, and employment. We continue to support those most impacted by these practices and proactively fight to dismantle systems of oppression and the institutional racism and classism that has created these inequities.
We are committed to continued advocacy to encourage policymakers to divest funding from law enforcement and invest more in strategies and organizations that meaningfully support community safety, healing, and wellbeing—especially for people of color. We will listen to the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We will speak out, we will testify, we will stand with communities of color. We will continue to have difficult conversations about race and accountability within and beyond our organization. We will examine our own biases, white privilege, and allegiances to harmful power structures and people. We will support and join with our program members and allied partners in uprooting racism and other forms of oppression. We will always center the voices and experiences of survivors—we are here for you. You are not alone.