You call that justice?
Up to Speed is a biweekly newsletter brought to you by Momentum, a Medium blog dedicated to the fight against anti-Black racism. Every other week, we bring you a collection of stories to consider as we all learn, evolve, and fight for racial justice and true equality.
Hey Momentum readers,
Last Wednesday we all sat — some in disbelief — and watched Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Louisville officials announce that former officer Brett Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment for his role in the murder of Breonna Taylor back in March.
The overwhelming consensus has been that this is not justice but instead a travesty and slap in the face — the definition of adding insult to injury. Hankison, just one of the three officers involved in the shooting that took Taylor’s life, was charged with a class D felony for endangering the lives of others, for shooting erratically into a wall, not for killing Taylor. Her name was never mentioned in the actual indictment. No one will be held accountable for Taylor’s murder. It felt like a punch to the gut despite many of us being used to how these instances tend to pan out.
Valerie Castile, mother of slain Philando Castile, can, unfortunately, relate. Unlike Hankison, officer Jeronimo Yanez was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a weapon for shooting Castile during what should’ve been a routine traffic stop. Yanez was eventually acquitted of all charges despite the outcry surrounding Castile’s death.
In an interview on Momentum, Demetria Wambia spoke with Castile about her continued fight for justice four years after her son’s murder and her support for the recent protests after “decades of oppression and abuse after abuse” with no accountability.
We march. We post on social media. We make and wear T-shirts. We rally. We cry out. But this system continues to protect those who fail us. So, what’s next? My gut, still in knots over the pain I feel for Taylor’s family and the reminder of how little Black women are valued in this country, tells me that we must keep the momentum going for all those still fighting for justice — for Tamika Palmer, Valerie Castile, Gianna Floyd, Letetra Widman, Tomika Miller, Joe Prude, and so on. They need our support now more than ever.
A great way to keep the momentum going is staying aware and remaining informed. Make sure you’re registered to vote. Use your voice. Stay in the conversation with us.
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More stories to keep in the conversation
We’re currently fighting two crises: Covid-19 and racism. Empathy could be the first step to solving both issues. Your pandemic vacation gets you “likes,” but what about the suffering it causes Black residents? In ZORA’s new series, What’s at Stake, Donna Owens breaks down how the upcoming election will be powered by Black women. Read Adam Mahoney’s first-person account of being on the ground in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the shooting of Jacob Blake. In an interview on Momentum, Keith Nelson Jr. talked with Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz about BLM and how this pandemic highlights the failures of our government.