To Our Dear Community:
As we approach the anniversary of the uprisings for Black Lives in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we are once again processing the news of a police execution of an unarmed Black man in the Minneapolis area. Daunte Wright, a 20 year old father and beloved community member, was fatally shot by officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, MN on April 11th. He is survived by his girlfriend, their one and a half-year old son, and his loving family. As the story of Daunte’s life and his murder continue to unfold in the public eye, the details feel all too familiar: we are reminded of Philando Castile, another Minnesota man whose trivial traffic stop quickly turned to a deadly encounter; we are reminded of Mike Brown, who, like Daunte, was left in the street for hours after his death; in the voice of Daunte’s mother we hear the agony of too many families whose loved ones never made it home.
Daunte Wright was killed mere miles from where George Floyd was publicly executed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. As the world awaits the outcome of Chauvin’s trial, the communities of Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis are responding with grief and outrage at yet another Black man murdered by police. We are witnessing the collective grief, trauma and rage that the Black community is holding from centuries of state-sanctioned terror–grief and rage that is sometimes expressed through civil disobedience and damage to property. We recognize these actions as a means of declaring the complete outrage at systems that continue to inflict earth-shattering violence with virtually no accountability.
We live in a culture that is deadly to Black people. It is unsafe to drive while Black, run while Black, smoke while Black, have an air freshener while Black, sleep while Black and live while Black. In light of Thurston County’s recent declaration of racism as a public health crisis, we want to recognize the ongoing health impacts caused by systemic racism. Racism is a trauma that lives in the bodies and communities of Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, accumulating and escalating as more lives are taken and opportunities lost. This is a crisis that spans generations, connected to a systemic lack of access to basic needs like housing, food, healthcare, community, connection, joy, rest, dignity and financial resources. It is a crisis that means that young Black men like Daunte are met with a gun first, and leaves his family and community to deal with the physical, psychological and emotional trauma of his death without any support or care.
Daunte Wright and his life matters. His family matters. And his death is yet another example of the broken and deadly institution of policing in this country. In writing this statement, we are filled with grief, anger, dread and horror. We honor and grieve with Daunte Wright’s family and community and look to their leadership as we continue to work for justice. We know that racism is deeply embedded in our bodies, institutions, and culture, and YWCA Olympia is committed to the fight for racial justice and an end to oppression in all of its forms. We call on ourselves and our community to continually renew our commitment to Black Lives, to have the hard conversations, to care for our communities and to dig deeper to dismantle the racism and violence in our hearts and minds. We call for a divestment from policing and institutions of power, and reinvestment in supporting those most impacted by racism, amplifying their voices and uplifting their leadership.
We ask BIPOC and particularly Black community members to rest, to grieve, to honor your rage and to ask for the support that you need. Taking space to center your wellness and mental health is a radical act in a racist society, and we encourage you to check out the following resources to support you in doing this:
- Free therapy for low/no income BIPOC from PiPE
- Mental Health Fund for Queer and Trans BIPOC, including resources for finding a therapist
We ask white community members to move deeper into action and reflect on the ways you benefit from the systems of white supremacy and colonialism that impact us all. We ask those with positional power to use it: call on your networks and leverage what you have. If you have money to redistribute, time to give, or can offer support to your Black friends, family, co workers, employees and community, please do so in the form of monetary reparations and community care. We ask you: What are you willing to give up for Black Lives?
Donation Information to Support Daunte Wright’s son and his girlfriend Chyna:
All accounts below go directly to Chyna.
- Cash app: $hubby98
- Venmo: @Chyna-W-1
- PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amazon Wishlist: email@example.com
Donation Information to Support the Brooklyn Center, MN community:
Local Organizing Resources: