The Ohio Domestic Violence Network joins numerous statewide, local, and national organizations to express our grief and outrage at the killing of two unarmed Black men by Columbus police officers within the past three weeks. We re-issue this statement in solidarity with people of color in our organization and our state, but more importantly, as a call to action. Our grief and outrage serve little purpose if they do not result in change.
“If ending racism were up to people of color, it would have been over a long time ago.” – Jona Olsson, Cultural Bridges
Our colleagues and friends of color, as well as national activists of color, have said, “We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.” The work to end the racist violence that took the life of George Floyd and so many others cannot sit on the shoulders of people of color alone. While people of color must guide these efforts, the commitment of white people is desperately needed at this moment.
In the early years of the domestic violence movement, women of color cautioned about over-investing in criminal justice strategies to end domestic violence. Sadly, their calls were largely ignored. Black women continue to die by domestic violence homicide at the highest rates of all U.S. women (CDC Data). Women of color are over-represented in the fast-growing population of incarcerated women (Vera Institute Report). George Floyd’s homicide again underscores the fact that calling the police on people of color can get them killed. The consequences for survivors of color are potentially deadly if they cannot call 911 when facing violence in their homes.
This is a moment for all white people of conscience to strengthen their commitment to work against racism. Especially for the battered women’s movement, this is a moment to finally listen deeply to women, men, and children of color, honor their experiences and make our work meaningfully address racial justice.
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