With everything going on, there are a lot of questions coming to the surface about race and society. Though we aren’t quite ready to yet, people have been trying to answer the question of how to move forward. And I mean, it’s not an easy one.
The government, arguably, also seems to be trying to move past everything happening. “Breonna’s Law,” a law banning no-knock warrants has been unanimously passed in Louisville, Kentucky. New York also just passed a bill making it a class C felony for a police officer to use a chokehold, for Eric Garner.
However, there’s just…
It has been 96 days since Breonna Taylor was killed. Her killers have not been arrested. If the system will continue to protect her killers, then we must change the system.
— Ed Markey (@EdMarkey) June 17, 2020
it’s been a long week. but you know what’s been even longer? the amount of time it’s taking for the cops who killed #BreonnaTaylor to be arrested. wtf.
— freddie ransome (@Ransome_Note) June 18, 2020
Draw focus back to Breonna Taylor.
Draw focus back to Oluwatoyin Salau.
Draw focus back to Dominique Fells.
Draw focus back to Riah Milton.
Please spare me the thinkpieces on my TL when these lives were lost and STILL haven’t received justice.
— Justice 4 Breonna Taylor (@kenna_naomi) June 17, 2020
You cannot have reconciliation without acknowledgment.
Breonna Taylor’s police report said she had “no injuries” when she in fact had 8 gunshot wounds. And the 3 cops responsible still walk free. WT fucking F?
— Ron Perlman (@perlmutations) June 17, 2020
To move forward, justice needs to be dealt. Accountability needs to be in place. Without both, it’s like asking someone if you guys can be all good again after they stabbed you, without remorse.
Other countries fail to do this too
This isn’t something that only functions on an individual level, either. Even other countries have grappled with how to move forward after tragedies, some better than others.
In the 1970s, Spain enacted the “Pact of Forgetting”, a law that refuses to acknowledge the crimes committed during the dictatorship. It failed on a fundamental level because it did not provide any victim with support, nor charge any human rights violator.
Turkey does not acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Argentina has never spoken out about the forced disappearances that occurred under their military dictatorship in the 1970s.
For us and international community #ArmenianGenocide is a reality. Denialism has no future, no matter who and how frames it. Despite the efforts of the authorities of #Turkey to suppress the truth, the truth has been prevailing. https://t.co/BLHX8DQAWX
— Anna A. Naghdalyan (@naghdalyan) June 18, 2020
Acknowledgment can be hard. But the people wronged will never really forget. To this day, there are women in the Mother of the Plaza de Mayo who march for their disappeared children. Why? Because they want to be heard. They want those forced disappearances to be acknowledged. They want their government to be held accountable.
What tools have governments been using?
Of course, countries have succeeded in acknowledging crimes and offering justice. Still, though, what about on a national scale? How do we even start to have accountability? It’s beginning to look more and more like a whole other can of worms.
Even if we suspend our beliefs for a moment–just a moment, stick with me–and ignore the specific case of Breonna Taylor, is creating these laws enough? Will it prevent future deaths like hers and ensure accountability?
For that, let’s turn to NPR.
According to NPR, the NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993, except when an officer’s life is in danger. The LAPD banned (a type) of a chokehold in 1982. Chicago did it in 2012.
But bans don’t work. If they did, Eric Garner would still be alive right now. But he’s not, and neither is Breonna Taylor or the hundreds of other victims. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide and none of the law enforcement officers involved were charged. Reform might not be the answer.
— Kulture Hub #QuarantineComeback (@KultureHub) June 16, 2020
What does it mean to name these laws after individuals if a solution is not being offered in their present cases? The fact that these bills are coming into play is not a bad thing. But to suggest to continue without charging these officers makes these bills not much more than a gesture.
How do we progress forward? We don’t until justice is met. If the system is broken, introducing more rules to that same system will not change it. Especially when the discretion of upholding those rules is up to the same bodies.
People want to feel safe and heard. If a random civilian committed a homicide, they would most likely be charged, right? Yet today, most police officers are not convicted for their fatal shootings.
This is not about guilt, this is about doing what is morally (and legally) right. In the field of human rights and reparations any forward change always requires acknowledgment by the perpetrators.
We want to move forward, right? Well, Breonna Taylor may have a law named after her, but as of today, her killers are still free.
— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) June 18, 2020
There’s some food for thought.