WASHINGTON — With protests continuing around the country to demand justice for Jacob Blake, In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell issued the following statement:
“When she refused to take the court, Naomi Osaka said, ‘before I am an athlete, I am a black woman.’ No matter what work we do, we are Black women 24/7. We face the sting of racism at work, in school, on the streets, and in our own homes. We cannot escape it nor deny racism its too-often deadly toll.
“No more. It’s time to stop the systems of oppression by disrupting the systems that thrive on the backs of Black women and people. It’s time to end business as usual until police violence is stopped. It’s not enough to punish police after they have killed or crippled Black people. We don’t only want police officers to be held accountable, we want to live our lives in peace. Federal, state, and local governments must take immediate steps to dismantle the criminal justice system and build new systems that prevent crime by investing in communities.
“The root cause of police violence against Black people is not racist white police officers; it is systemic racism and white supremacy. We will never stop police violence against Black people with anti-racism training or by hiring more Black officers because — as Barbara Smith points out — the criminal justice system itself is a racist tool designed to perpetuate white supremacy.
“Black women are leading the movement to dismantle systemic racism and to stop police violence. The white male patriarchy must heed our call for justice and peace — and we must and will continue to disrupt their power.”