STATEMENT ON YANEZ TRIAL VERDICT

We, at Women’s March Minnesota, extend our condolences to the Castile family. We are disappointed in the outcome of the Yanez Trial verdict and will continue to stand with the family of Philando Castile, and the community as they call for justice.

Some have asked how our mission extends to standing in solidarity with #Justice4Philando. We believe the answer is simple: In 2017, we cannot be feminists in isolation. 

Women's March Minnesota, in line with Women's March (National) holds strong to the idea that we need to be united in our struggles. We believe the systems of oppression, domination, and discrimination are interconnected, and therefore our struggles to overcome them are interconnected as well.  Modern feminism seeks to tackle all oppression.  We have seen time and again that our current system is not designed to protect nor issue justice for people of color. We stand in solidarity in this struggle to ensure justice and equity in our society, on the streets, and in the courts. 

Since January 21st, we have held tightly to our Unity Principles, which you can read here. Our recent focus on the outcome of the trial, local response to the verdict -- in terms of both protests as well as events aimed at bringing people together to share their views -- and our posts on what we as a community can do in this situation, all fall directly under the Unity Principles of Ending Violence and Civil Rights. We understand that while these are difficult subjects to deal with, it is imperative that we do so.

In terms of specific changes we believe need to be made - we support our friends at the NAACP in their call for the following:

·             All officers must be required to obtain full crisis-intervention and implicit-bias training funded by the state.

·             All police departments must embrace the sanctity of human life and adopt de-escalation as agency policy.

·             All police incidents resulting in serious injury or death must be investigated by an independent state-level special prosecutor.

·             All video should be released at latest after initial witness interviews are completed; in other states this has been done within a few days.

For more details, please see this commentary from the Star Tribune by Rachel Wannarka and Jason Sole of Minneapolis NAACP.

At the same time, we would like to make clear that we support our law enforcement and respect and appreciate the security and safety they can provide and ideally seek to find common ground and challenging dialogue to help heal these wounds and prevent another tragedy like this from happening.

It is our hope that you will stand with us and continue to show up and speak out in instances of injustice. No one is free until everyone is free.  

We also hope you’ll continue to engage in these messy conversations.  It is more important than ever that we take time to understand the full range of perspectives and emotions that are present and often go unheard. Here are a couple of articles that we’ve found insightful and would like to share with you:

·             NYT Op-Ed: Philando Castile and the Terror of an Ordinary Day

·             StarTribune Commentary: Verdict in Castile shooting

·             The Body is Not an Apology Magazine: 7 Tips for White Parents to Talk to Their Kids About Police Murders of Black People

·             Yes! Magazine: White People, the Philando Castile Acquittal Should Make You Mad as Hell. You’ve been lied to.