Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) condemns the ongoing criminalization of Black bodies. Race-based brutality must end. People with disabilities are found in every color, class, religion, gender expression and age. The fight for racial equality is our fight.

George Floyd’s murder descends from a long line of racially-motivated lynchings as old as this nation. It closely follows recent high-profile killings of Black people closer to home, in Kentucky and Georgia – Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Mr. Floyd was pinned to the ground in a prone restraint, the knee of a law enforcement officer pressed into the back of his neck, heartlessly denying him breath as he pled for his life.

Earlier this month, a Black 16-year-old named Cornelius Frederick was also killed in a prone restraint, at the residential facility where he was sent to receive care and treatment for his behavioral health disabilities. He was restrained for allegedly throwing a sandwich, and paid for it with his life.

DRNC has borne witness to too many injustices heaped upon Black and Brown people. White supremacy culture is unacceptable, lethal and must change.

Communities of color were already grappling with disproportionate harm from COVID-19, its death toll and economic hardships. Now, Black folk are confronted by the trauma of yet another graphic display of anti-Blackness, in the unshakeable images of Mr. Floyd’s life being extinguished on the street by police who, in theory, are paid to serve and protect him.

DRNC’s stated values include our belief that people with disabilities have the right to be heard and a right to live in the world; support for human dignity, diversity, and civil rights; and the relentless pursuit of justice.

Black people have the right to be heard and a right to live in the world. Black lives matter.

Equal justice under the law is the heart of American democracy. Our country will never be great until the scourge of discrimination and racism is erased.

DRNC will fight to end racial oppression and make equal justice a reality. Especially now, when the arc of history barely seems to be bending toward justice, we will redouble our efforts in solidarity with those who seek to dismantle institutionalized racism. We will follow the lead of people of color and support the struggle for racial equality and justice.

Please join DRNC in rejecting hate and demanding social justice. We can and must do better.

Virginia Knowlton Marcus
Chief Executive Officer