Early Wednesday afternoon at about 1:15 p.m., results of the Breonna Taylor case were announced. By now, we should all know Breonna Taylor and her story, as well as the circumstances surrounding her death. It is yet another story of a Black community member – this time a 26-year-old Black medical worker in Louisville, Kentucky – dying at the hands of White police officers. Yet another example of the institutional racism that continues to traumatize and disempower our communities of color, particularly our Black neighbors, friends, and family members.
In case you have not heard, there were no charges for the killing of Breonna Taylor. One officer involved in the case was indicted for “wanton endangerment” because the bullets he shot entered the neighbor’s apartment. The other two officers involved were not charged at all. Once again, we find ourselves reeling from an outcome that is incomprehensible, yet one that we tragically continue to see play out over and over again.
On May 31st, we sent out a joint statement regarding the death of George Floyd at the hands of a White police officer in Minneapolis. In that statement we noted that we must be willing to make racism and its impact to our communities of color part of our normal discourse as we work together to dismantle the institutional racism that continues to plague our nation. The Breonna Taylor case is just one more piece of evidence of how ingrained racism is in our culture, and the urgency of the work that lies ahead.
As members of a community, we must be willing to stand up and acknowledge injustices, whether they are happening in our own backyard or elsewhere in the country. Our actions and inactions impact our neighbors, our families, and our friends. We must lend voice to the physical and emotional trauma that racism inflicts on our colleagues and students of color, and provide opportunities and a safe space for honest discourse. We must step out of our comfort zones and be willing to listen and learn, and examine what we think we know to be true with what we see. Most importantly, if we are to become an anti-racist nation, we each must be willing to do all that we can to call out and dismantle the racist systems that continue to oppress and disempower people of color.
In our schools and in our communities, this is urgent and necessary work that we must be and are committed to doing.
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and Superintendent Mary E. Skipper