Yesterday, DeVitta Briscoe, a Washington local and Everytown Survivor Fellow, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post detailing her experiences with gun violence and police violence and the need for immediate action on the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act in the Senate. The bill passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
This session, Washington Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers have been testifying and advocating for legislation on police violence at the state level as well. Recently, five bills addressing police violence passed their first chamber.
“I’ve gotten the worst call of a lifetime three times in my life. The first one came in 2001, when I was told that Himey — my best friend and the man I wish I’d married — had been shot and killed. The second came in 2010, when my son Donald — a great student who dreamed of being a film producer — had been fatally shot in the head. The most recent was in 2016, when Che — my big brother and protector — was shot seven times by police, handcuffed, and left to bleed out for six and a half minutes before aid was administered or paramedics arrived. When aid finally came, it was too late. Another person I loved, killed by a gun.
This is a familiar scenario in police killings. There were no murder or manslaughter charges when Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police while sleeping in her own bed. No charges when Stephon Clark was killed in his grandmother’s backyard for the crime of using his cellphone. No charges when police shot and killed Tamir Rice, a child playing with a toy gun. No charges when police shot and killed Marcus-David Peters while he had a mental health crisis. You ought to know the names by now, and if you do, you also know that there are many more.
The lack of charges in these cases wasn’t the only thing they had in common. All the victims were Black. All unarmed. All shot and killed by police officers. And all young — Breonna was the only one of them to make it to the age of 26. Tamir was just 12. If you add up all their lifetimes, they don’t even make it to 100.
Americans are well aware that our society faces an epidemic of gun violence: More than 100 die every single day and hundreds more are wounded in cities and churches and schools and concerts and homes and seemingly everywhere else. But one of the most shameful aspects of this reality is how often — especially for Black victims — police are the ones pulling the trigger.
The thing is, a bullet is a bullet. A gun is a gun. And when the trigger gets pulled, it doesn’t matter who did the pulling. All we can do in the aftermath is seek justice, but when it comes to the police, we are often denied that.
That’s why I’m telling my story today, following the House passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — to implore the Senate to pass this bill into law.”
Read the full piece here.To learn more about the work of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action against police violence federally or statewide, please don’t hesitate to reach out.