• Andrea Caupain

How do I feel? What do I say? What do I do?



I can only imagine the myriad responses you might have to witnessing the senseless murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. We watched as George cried for his breath, for his very life. We watched a system treat him as disposable and take his life.

I grieve as we add George’s name – and now David McAtee’s – to the unbearable list our beloved Black brothers and sisters who have met the same fate … Che Taylor, Charleena Lyles, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and many more.

How does one respond when people who look like your brother, father, uncle, sister, mother, cousin are casually killed by systems sworn to serve and protect? I feel devastation as a Black woman and a mother to two Black children. I feel anger, rage, and anxiety.

Sadly, Black people are so used to this reality that it takes an extra helping of disrespect and racial callousness to set us off. And that is exactly what happened in Minneapolis. Recall, the 'riots' and burning of the police precinct in Minneapolis did not happen right after Floyd was murdered. These events happened only after public outcry forced the hand of the police to terminate the four officers who facilitated the murder of George Floyd.

How does one respond when people who look like your brother, father, uncle, sister, mother, cousin are casually killed by systems sworn to serve and protect?

Still, the real insult came when the Hennepin County DA Mike Freeman stated that he wasn't sure Derek Chauvin, who has 18 prior complaints against him, would even be charged. This is after Mike Freeman and the rest of the world saw the video of Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd, ignoring pleas to let him breathe.

Black people are accustomed to navigating casual and even vitriolic disrespect but the 'uncertainty' about whether or not charges would even be brought against the officer was too much to swallow.

We are all waiting to see what happens with this case. Especially when Mohammed Noor, the former Somalian police officer who killed a white woman under duress and actual fear for his and his partner's safety in a darkened back alley was charged with, and found guilty of, second degree murder.

What I DO know, is that that we must lead change here in the 37th district and in Washington state. No longer can institutional racism have a chokehold on us.

Derek Chauvin, who showed callous disregard for George Floyd's safety and life, was only charged with third degree murder. There was no darkened alley, no bump of a squad car, no resist of arrest, no weapon. There was only broad daylight, three accomplices with badges, and an allegation of a counterfeit $20 bill.

I don't know what will happen. I don't know what will change in Minneapolis.

What I DO know, is that that we must lead change here in the 37th district and in Washington state. No longer can institutional racism have a chokehold on us.

I pledge to do my part to eradicate the systems and biases that support and facilitate racism. Specifically on policing, I will work to ensure real community oversight with people of color empowered with decision making authority. I will work to improve police accountability that includes training every police officer on racial bias, improving community relations, severely limiting the use of force, and independently investigating and prosecuting officers who mis-abuse power. I also will work to expand community representation in law enforcement.

These protests across our nation are showing that growing numbers of people in America are no longer willing to turn away from racism and the unjust killing of Black lives. The pain, anger, and grief are pouring out. We are crying out for justice, for a system that lives up to its stated values.

I continue to believe that the people who are most harmed by our systems are the ones we need to be listening to right now. The knowledge and wisdom of how we move forward exists within our communities. Now is the time to harness the power of our hearts, imaginations, relationships, and political systems to build a new way forward together.

#BlackLivesMatter #SayTheirNames

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Friends of Andrea Caupain, P.O. Box 9100, Seattle, WA 98109