Say her name.
Say her name.
This weekend, Charleena Lyles was shot and killed in her home, in front of her children, by two police officers. Charleena Lyles was a 30-year-old Black mother. Charleena Lyles was a member of the Sand Point community. Charleena Lyles was pregnant. Charleena Lyles was shot and killed Sunday morning by two White police officers while they investigated her report of an attempted burglary.
We at Arts Corps, grieve for Charleena’s four children, for the child in her womb, for her extended family, and for her community. There is a hole in their hearts that can never be filled. We also feel saddened for the school community at Sand Point Elementary where Charleena was a parent and where Arts Corps’ Creative Schools Initiative integrated arts into academic curriculum, boosting students’ confidence and creative freedom.
It is too early to determine if the officers involved will be brought up on charges. It is not too early, however, to advocate for justice. Arts Corps calls for a fair and thorough investigation into these events. Knowing that the criminal justice system disproportionately affects people of color, we ask that the police departments reexamine how officers are trained. Police in other countries are trained to deescalate a situation, fire warning shots, or aim for non vital areas. Yet, that seems to be missing from US training protocol. Why?
Black people are repeatedly killed by police officers. The police officers responsible for the shootings are either acquitted, or not indicted at all. We, at Arts Corps, mourn. We cry.
We demand justice.
Charleena Lyles is the most recent victim of police violence, but unfortunately she is not the only one. Arts Corps continues to grieve the countless other black lives lost at the hands of police officers, including Philando Castille, whose shooter was acquitted in court on Friday. In May, the Department of Justice decided not to bring charges against the killers of Alton Sterling despite cell phone footage of the incident. Officer Betty Shelby was recently acquitted of murdering Terence Crutcher, though that was also caught on video. The officer that killed thirteen year old Tyre King killer was recently acquitted, and his actions justified.
Say their names.
The criminal justice system in our county has deep-seated biases that urgently need to be addressed, and Arts Corps lends our voice to the growing movement of individuals and organizations calling for reform, namely the Black Lives Matter movement and its work to “build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.”
Fred Hampton said, “you can’t fight fire with fire, you fight with water.” Arts Corps knows the power of the arts, and wants to extinguish inequity in our communities. We need to come together as a community to help end this brutal cycle of police violence and create a better world for all of us.
If you wish to donate directly to Charleena’s family, please visit her gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/bdgbc8pg.