The Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder condemn the police killing of Mr. George Floyd. This killing adds to a long list of over 1250 folks of African descent killed by police since 2005, not taking into account acts of police brutality resulting in grievous bodily harm and deaths while in police or sheriff's custody.
Mr. Floyd’s public murder adds to a spate of police killings of Black people in the past few months of the COVID 19 pandemic. Breonna Taylor was shot in her own bed at home in Louisville Kentucky. Ahmaud Arbery was hunted and killed while jogging in Georgia. Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed by officers in Florida. These police killings come at a time where the COVID 19 pandemic is causing much higher rates of death in Black, Latinx and tribal communities, especially the Navajo Nation. We urge our campus community to take note of racism as another public health emergency for Black, Latinx, Native and other communities of color. We also urge public attention to how these acts of violence are racialized and gendered, with Black people in every gender group being disproportionately vulnerable to police violence.
As departments whose work is informed by intersectional antiracist, feminist, queer, and transgender scholarship and activism, we condemn the ongoing criminalization of black people and the glorification of police violence against black people. We demand justice for the family of Mr. George Floyd and all families who have lost loved ones to racist police violence. We denounce the ongoing onslaught of violence against peaceful protesters in Colorado and across the United States and the world in the wake of this horrific murder. We call for an end to the increased militarization and funding of police forces and the prison industrial complex, and for states and counties to invest in better schools, job training and empowerment for marginalized communities.
We call on our students, faculty, and administration at the university to take a stand against the systemic violence and murders that have wrecked black people’s lives in this country since the colonizers first arrived. We also demand that our campus leaders call for the Boulder police department to account for the many instances of racial harassment by the Boulder police. Finally, we stand in full support of the student public petition co-authored by Ruth Woldenmichael and Olivia Gardner.
Please also see: 9news interview with Dr. Hillary Potter, associate professor of ethnic studies and associate dean for inclusive practice, College of Arts & Sciences, CU Boulder, discussing the history of violent demonstrations in Denver amid the George Floyd protests.