It is an undeniable truth that law enforcement and our criminal justice system treat Black and Brown folks differently than white people. That kind of inequity is something the queer and trans communities are all too familiar with in this 50th anniversary year since transgender and queer people of color fought back against police brutality at the Stonewall Inn.
Stephon Clark did not deserve to die. Police should not have considered it reasonable to kill him. And the District Attorney didn’t need to expose the personal struggles of an unarmed Black man in the process of announcing her decision not to bring criminal charges against the officers who killed him. This is not justice.
Cultural change is hard, and we must hold one another more accountable. Changes to public policy and practice must chart a future where the value of every life, from birth to natural death, is upheld with paramount importance.
Black lives matter. Stephon Clark’s life mattered. The two dozen Black Transgender women who were killed in the US last year mattered. The 44 percent of homeless gay youth who are Black matter. These lives have great value and potential.
Our hearts ache for the Clark family and we will continue to advocate for Black lives, Brown lives, Trans lives, and the lives of people experiencing homelessness because we believe every resident has a right to live in a community free of fear and be given the opportunity to thrive. Our community will only be safer if those entrusted with leadership, safety, and service exhibit more compassion with action and equitable justice for those who have been historically oppressed, forgotten, and devalued.