Along with so many others in our community, we breathed a sigh of relief for a moment this week as we heard that the police officer who murdered George Floyd had been convicted. However, even as the verdict was coming in, yet another Black American was being killed by a police officer, this time 16-year old Ma’Khia Bryant. We have so much work left to do.
We join others in and beyond the UMBC community in working to find ways to end police violence and the systems of racism and white supremacy that enable it. We work towards this in our teaching and our scholarship. We also work towards this as members of our local, state, and national political systems, and encourage others to do the same. We are proud to be part of a state whose General Assembly passed sweeping police reforms into law earlier this month, making it one of the first law making bodies to do so (https://www.npr.org/2021/04/10/986159466/maryland-lawmakers-override-vetoes-on-sweeping-police-reform). And we call attention to reform at the national level, including legislation such as the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020” that was passed by the United States House and currently awaits Senate consideration (https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/7120).
It is up to each of us to call our representatives’ attention to the actions we want them to take on our behalf.
We know we are not alone in this, and that sustains us all. In the last few days, we have read the many thoughtful and moving statements from others in our community, and we urge others to do the same. There is much to do, and we are grateful to be doing it together.
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health