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Yesterday, a grand jury in Louisville, Ky. failed to bring justice for Breonna Taylor. Only one of the three officers involved in her death was indicted for first-degree wanton endangerment charges. Not a single officer was actually charged for her death.
On August 25, I tendered my resignation from the Johns Hopkins Police Accountability Board (JHPAB). A day later, University officials sent a letter to the remaining Board members informing them that their tenure had been “paused” in keeping with University President Ronald J. Daniels’ June announcement regarding a similar “pause” to the Johns Hopkins Police Department (JHPD).
The Coalition Against Policing by Hopkins (CAPH), consisting of about a dozen student and community groups, marched in East Baltimore on August 15 to demand the termination of the University’s plans to implement a private police force.
A group of community activists and Hopkins students marched along York Road on July 11 to highlight racial disparities in North Baltimore.
About 100 protesters marched to University President Ronald J. Daniels’ home on June 29, taping copies of a petition demanding the cancellation of the private police force to his front door and windows.
I went to a protest earlier this month. I proudly held up a hand-painted sign as I joined the chorus of anguished cries and marched with 2000 other members of my community. I was impressed by the turnout, especially in my very white suburban Missouri town. As one of the few people of color in my community, I grew up feeling isolated and unknown, but as I heard my friends and neighbors proclaim, “Black lives matter!” I felt something new. I felt seen and heard and wanted. Knowing that communities across the nation were chanting the same thing, I was filled with hope. Maybe my people really are important to this country. Maybe Black lives really do matter to white America.
More than 200 members of the Hopkins community gathered in front of the Beach on Thursday, June 18 to demand that the University better hire and support Black faculty members, as well as cancel the planned private police force. The Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA) held the peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the nationwide protests that have followed George Floyd’s killing by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Three days ago, top University officials announced that they would be halting their plans to create a private police force (JHPD) for at least two years. This was the second communication sent to the student body in response to the protests that began when George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. It took almost an entire week after Floyd’s death for the University to release a statement.
As a child, I watched the 1992 Los Angeles protests, spurred by police brutality against Rodney King. Today, my children are watching a similar scene unfold.
When people ask us why we want to go into journalism, our response is almost reflexive. “Our passion,” we say, “is amplifying voices that often go unheard.” As protests across the country condemn police brutality and centuries of racial injustice, we’re thinking about how to best amplify black voices as Editors-in-Chief of The News-Letter.
Ahmaud Arbery. Sean Reed. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Tony McDade. Yassin Mohammed. These are the names that have recently been added to the Black community’s ever-growing directory of murdered souls. These are the names that have been etched into our minds. The names that we will shout every time we have to fight for justice. Their lives, their stories and their deaths have become integral parts of each and every one of our experiences. From strangers to something much stronger than family.
The killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department has sparked nationwide protests to highlight police brutality and promote racial justice. These protests have occurred in over 350 cities. In addition, people have shown their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement through donations, petitions and social media.
The marble sign on the Merrick Gateway and parts of the Mattin Center were spray-painted with messages such as “Justice 4 Floyd” and “No JHUPD” following nationwide protests against police brutality on May 31. The University has since covered the sign with tarp, surrounded it with fences and is in the process of removing the messages.
The first time I visited Homewood Campus also happened to be the first night of the Garland Sit-In. Through all of the tours, class visits, events and students I spoke with during Spring Open House and Overnight Program (SOHOP), what I remember most is University President Ronald J. Daniels standing on stage, briefly addressing the protest that was taking place just across the quad. He was extremely dismissive of the protests, and it seemed to me that he did not care at all about what the students had to say. After one year at Hopkins, I have come to realize that this brief moment in Shriver Hall is emblematic of University leadership’s disregard for student voices.
I am both honored and heartbroken to have the opportunity to put my thoughts on paper and share them with you. I want to use this platform to tell my story and the story of my city.