The killing of George Floyd by police forces in the U.S. city of Minneapolis, Minnesota has sparked waves of protests across not only the United States, but the world. His murder represents the most recent media-acknowledged entry in an unspeakably long list of Black people killed by a racist society. In 2020 alone, the lives of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and many others have been claimed by police violence. U.S. police forces shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people annually, with a disproportionate number of those individuals being Black. Their deaths reflect a devastating and continuing injustice suffered by the Black community for generations.
To be clear, this represents a systematic and widespread attack on a civilian population. Atrocity prevention efforts in the United States, undertaken by both governmental actors and those from civil society, have traditionally been dominated by foreign policy efforts. Additionally, actions taken in the name of political expedience and exceptionalist mythology have inhibited a necessary focus on domestic atrocity risks. As Dr. James Waller writes, “It would be a disingenuous and dangerous denial of our history to believe that our past, present, or future somehow shelters us from the risk of genocide.” Yet, realizing effective atrocity prevention remains an impossible goal within a society that continues to uphold pervasive white supremacy and routinely allows discriminatory violence to be carried out by the state.
In this moment, the Auschwitz Institute acknowledges its own responsibility as a member of civil society. We recognize that we have not done enough in response to the plight of Black people, especially within the context of our work in the United States. Knowing this, we commit to taking action and increasing our programming dedicated to domestic mass atrocity prevention in the U.S.
As a part of these external efforts, which will be mirrored by a range of new and ongoing internally focused reforms, we will be introducing three primary initiatives into our domestic programming agenda. These represent the first steps that AIPG will take to provide our partners and community with the necessary tools and resources to enact real change and end ongoing cycles of discriminatory violence.
First, AIPG will be launching an online version of our training curriculum for United States law enforcement, thereby increasing access to education and training programs focused on implementing the recommendations made by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. This will be done in collaboration with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) in Atlanta, the host of our National Seminars for Law Enforcement on Civil and Human Rights Protection. Second, the Auschwitz Institute will create a United States Transitional Justice Programming Strategy. This will assist local, state, and federal U.S. government bodies in developing transitional justice policies that directly engage with the country’s history of mass atrocities, support reparative initiatives that offer necessary redress to victimized populations, and reform the institutions responsible for perpetrating these abuses so that they are no longer able to do so. Third, AIPG will support NCCHR’s development of robust guidance and training measures for corporate and other private-sector actors. These resources will outline essential actions and considerations that combat white supremacy and promote the realization of racial justice in the workplace.
In recognizing that Black Lives Matter, it is of the utmost importance to commemorate and memorialize those claimed by racist police violence in the United States. While we will continue to take actions to fight against malicious forces of historical revisionism that inhibit essential measures for truth, justice, and memory, we will also ensure that these individuals continue to be seen. We will say their names.
Black Lives Matter. Say their names.
Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Michelle Cusseaux, Laquan McDonald, George Mann, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jerame Reid, Matthew Ajibade, Frank Smart, Natasha McKenna, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, Mya Hall, Phillip White, Eric Harris, Walter Scott, William Chapman II, Alexia Christian, Brendon Glenn, Victor Manuel Larosa, Jonathan Sanders, Freddie Blue, Joseph Mann, Salvado Ellswood, Sandra Bland, Albert Joseph Davis, Darrius Stewart, Billy Ray Davis, Samuel Dubose, Michael Sabbie, Brian Keith Day, Christian Taylor, Troy Robinson, Asshams Pharoah Manley, Felix Kumi, Keith Harrison McLeod, Junior Prosper, Lamontez Jones, Paterson Brown, Dominic Hutchinson, Anthony Ashford, Alonzo Smith, Tyree Crawford, India Kager, La’vante Biggs, Michael Lee Marshall, Jamar Clark, Richard Perkins, Nathaniel Harris Pickett, Benni Lee Tignor, Miguel Espinal, Michael Noel, Kevin Matthews, Bettie Jones, Quintonio Legrier, Keith Childress Jr., Janet Wilson, Randy Nelson, Antronie Scott, Wendell Celestine, David Joseph, Calin Roquemore, Dyzhawn Perkins, Christopher Davis, Marco Loud, Peter Gaines, Torrey Robinson, Darius Robinson, Kevin Hicks, Mary Truxillo, Demarcus Semer, Willie Tillman, Terrill Thomas, Sylville Smith, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Terence Crutcher, Paul O’Neal, Alteria Woods, Jordan Edwards, Aaron Bailey, Ronell Foster, Stephon Clark, Antwon Rose II, Botham Jean, Pamela Turner, Dominique Clayton, Atatiana Jefferson, Christopher Whitfield, Christopher Mccorvey, Eric Reason, Michael Lorenzo Dean, Breonna Taylor.
This non-comprehensive list of Black people in the United States killed by police since July 2014 was compiled by National Public Radio’s Code Switch as part of an episode entitled “A Decade of Watching Black People Die.”