Words from George Floyd in his death throes, “I cannot breathe”, speak to each one of us. Recent data has yielded clear evidence that the Black community in the US has borne the brunt of the present COVID 19 crisis, pointing to serious gaps in provisioning, including access to housing and healthcare. They also account for a disproportionately larger percentage of the prison population. These realities underline the systemic racism and structured discrimination along lines of ethnicity within the US and the explosion of public anger now on display in major cities across the country represents a moment of truth for American society.
We in India, who have long been living with a sense of outrage over the violence and discrimination perpetrated by our own police force against minorities and the most marginalized, recognize the importance of this moment. The powerful slogan, ‘Black Lives Matter’ now resonating across the US, reminds us of the targeted violence being perpetrated by the Indian state and police against specific communities, right here, right now. We are anguished that Indian society has often been complicit in such brutality. Along with the Black community in the US, and drawing strength from their struggle, we also shout out loud, ‘Muslim Lives Matter’, ‘Dalit Lives Matter’, ‘Adivasi Lives Matter’, ‘Kashmiri Lives Matter’, ‘Trans Lives Matter’. Along with them, we also cry out, ‘We cannot breathe. Get off our necks!’
END POLICE VIOLENCE NOW.
END STATE COMPLICITY IN SUCH VIOLENCE NOW!
END RACISM NOW! END PATRIARCHAL VIOLENCE NOW!
Issued by members of FeministsIndia, an online India-based collective comprising over 750 individuals and groups