Racism is a pandemic.
This past week our eyes have been glued to our screens and our feet have hit the streets as we bore witness yet again to police brutality ending the life of another Black person, George Floyd. As Black people experience higher risk of illness and death due to the novel coronavirus, we see police brutality as part and parcel of a broader pandemic—racism—that systematically inflicts violence upon Black bodies.
Even during a global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people across the nation and around the world have come out to protest police brutality and demand racial justice. In the United States, protests have been met with widespread repression. A nation unprepared to outfit its doctors with PPE during a pandemic has more than prepared its cops to meet protestors with riot gear.
In Minneapolis, Real Food Media’s Tanya Kerssen captured this repression in a video that’s since gone viral, showing dozens of police officers sweeping the neighborhood and firing paint canisters at her building’s residents on their front porch.
As an institution rooted in a history of settler-colonial violence against Native people, “slave patrols” to hunt down enslaved runaways, and control of the working class, is it any surprise police forces would behave so violently? With a history so bound up with white supremacy, strike-breaking, and the protection of white property above all else, what more could we expect?
But we must expect, and we must imagine and create, something else. As the world burns around us, we’re seeing countless people rise up to collectively advance a different vision—one in which policing is replaced with vibrant, healthy communities rooted in mutual protection and care.
We echo the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to #DefundThePolice and stand in solidarity with Black and Brown people everywhere demanding an end to police impunity and meaningful action in support of safety and wellbeing for communities of color. In the wise words of our friend and ally Navina Khanna of HEAL Food Alliance: “We will let love guide our rage, and will keep imagining and cultivating our liberated future.”
In community and solidarity,
Tiffani, Anna, Christina, and Tanya
Header Image: Offerings and mural of George Floyd at 38th Street and Chicago Ave. in Minneapolis. Mural by Greta McLain (@gretamclain) and Good Space Murals (@goodspacemurals). Photo by Hanna Kuluvar Esparza.