At NYU Metro Center, we have long stood and continue to stand with causes such as #PoliceFreeSchools and youth-led organizations such as the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC) who have championed the removal of police from schools and the prioritization of resources and support to facilitate environments that are safe and supportive for our children. The recent murder of Daunte Wright (his killing has been deemed a homicide) reminds us that we have a long way to go to set all of our children up for success.
Research is clear on this position: that Black children are regarded as less innocent, more culpable, more threatening, and less valued than their white counterparts. However, there is a growing body of evidence pointing to the remarkable transformation that can be made when we hold Black bodies sacred. Research on culturally responsive-sustaining education is beginning to give us a sense of how we might learn to cherish vulnerable life in our classrooms, but more how we might learn to sustain it outside our classrooms. In the spirit of this work and in light of the most recent loss of a young Black man at the hands of a police officer, we continue to ask ourselves, where else can we substitute the police for respondents best equipped to respond to the needs of our communities in a way that is transformative rather than fatal? Black lives matter and so does Black life.
We call today for the elimination of the very threat of surveillance and the contingent gaze that looms over Black bodies, Black communities, Black ideas, and all other things in this country that are Black, relegating Black people to a position of purgatory where we all wait with bated breath for the next incident aimed at robbing us of another life--and sadly, as we prepared to share this statement, another life was robbed in Chicago, a 13-year-old boy named Adam Toledo.
We call today for mechanisms of healing for those who have suffered too often and too long, not just restorative spaces but also compensatory justice that defunds the apparatus that threatens Black lives.
We call today for even more courageous conversations and compassionate confrontations with the difficult questions of racism, institutional and otherwise.