Originally published on June 16, 2017 at mijente.net
As news broke that a court acquitted Officer Jeronimo Yanez, the 29-year-old Latino police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile while he wore his seatbelt in the passenger side of his car last summer, reactions of outrage and disbelief poured throughout the country.
Castile’s mother took to Facebook telling people to understand the license to kill this decision grants police officers.
Groups dedicated to racial justice called on others in the self-described resistance that rose after the fall election to prioritize responding to this case and to incorporate work against state violence and racism into their program.
For Latinxs, the case demands a specific conversation. Marisa Franco, Director of Mijente issued the following reaction:
We condemn the murder of Philando Castile and the routine miscarriage of any justice in Officer Yanez’ acquittal. Latinxs have to stand against racism and police violence tonight.
The fear that Officer Yanez had of Philando Castile in his passenger seat is one that is taught to us and one that is prevalent in our communities. We cannot denounce him without also actively confronting Latinx anti-Blackness. It must be undone.
At a time when the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is encouraging our community’s cooperation with the Trump regime and as non-Black Latinxs are courted into the project of white supremacy in this country, Philando Castile’s murder is a tear in that fabric that calls for us to resist.
For some of us this is an act of solidarity, for others it is an act of self-preservation. Non-Black Latinxs need to show up for the movement for Black Lives including the Afro-Latinxs who are often erased in these conversations.
Tonight we mourn with those who loved Mr. Castile. Tonight we share the outrage with those who are still waiting for justice to be made real in this country. Now, tomorrow, and onward we commit ourselves to a fight against criminalization, against state violence, and for racial justice for all of us, a justice that begins by making Black lives matter.
Stephanie Gasca, Communications Director for Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha in Minneapolis, responded:
As a woman who identifies as Latinx and a mother of Black children, now is the time for us to stand with our Black sisters and brothers like never before. Our struggles against systemic oppression and the criminalization of Black and Brown folks in our state and in our country are not two separate battles. In the Twin Cities, Black and Brown communities have carried the weight of this painful oppression and the real impacts it has on our daily lives in two separate lanes for far too long. Now is the time for us to carry this weight together and fight together against the systems that were built to destroy us.
Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, the director of Navigate and a Mijente member based in Minneapolis added:
We call for Latinxs to protest this verdict because we will not let Officer Yanez be the face of our community. Instead he is the poster child for the real life consequences of when we let anti-Black racism go unchallenged. We want to live in a city where Black lives matter and Latinxs must be participants in making that slogan a reality.
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