High-profile shooting deaths of Black Americans have occurred with seasonal regularity this year.
In particular, the police killings of Taylor and Floyd sparked sustained uprisings throughout the summer.
Some Black Americans have used the repeated devastation of police violence as a means of motivating others to vote out a President overflowing with anti-Black animus — who views a movement that simply affirms that Black lives matter as a “symbol of hate
“We need to get somebody in office that’s going to work on our behalf,” Bianca Austin, the aunt of Taylor, who in March was killed during a botched police raid in Louisville, Kentucky, told CNN’s Harmeet Kaur in October
, adding that “a lot of people are just sick and tired.”
Taylor’s family received a sizable settlement
— $12 million — and the city agreed to reforms such as offering a housing program to incentivize officers to live in the areas where they serve and tightening the process of issuing search warrants.
Still, a grand jury decided not to indict any officers in connection with Taylor’s death
. Some members of the panel later said that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron hadn’t really given them any other option and that he’d made misleading public comments about the case.
In October, Taylor’s family launched a foundation both to keep the 26-year-old’s memory alive and to fuel political change. One of the foundation’s ambitions on the latter front: shuttling Louisville voters to polling sites, free of charge.
“Please, if you don’t have a candidate in mind, just vote because Breonna can’t vote,” Austin told Kaur.
To the vast majority of Black Americans, it seems impossible to survive another four years under Trump — under a President who can’t even explicitly acknowledge the systemic racism of an institution rooted in the slave patrols of the 18th and 19th centuries
Covid-19’s uneven toll
Far from being the “great equalizer
,” the novel coronavirus pandemic has only deepened persistent disparities — in employment, in housing, in access to high-quality doctors.
“The virus is layering over an infrastructure where people of color have been living with so many disparities that affect their ability to deal with an economic crisis and a public-health crisis,” Tricia Neuman, senior vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and executive director of its program on Medicare policy, told CNN in April
And yet, as it’s become clear over the past eight months that Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, poses a disproportionate threat to people of color, the catastrophe has grown less urgent in some political leaders’ eyes.
“White Americans are also suffering,” The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer wrote in May
, “but the perception that the coronavirus is largely a Black and brown problem licenses elites to dismiss its impact. In America, the racial contract has shaped the terms of class war for centuries; the Covid contract shapes it here.”
Black voters have noted this neglect in more recent weeks, too.
“We have a President who is totally tearing apart our whole democratic Constitution,” Wilburn Wilkins told CNN in October
. “Many people are dying because (Trump) is ignoring the Covid pandemic, ignoring the fact that people are unemployed, need financial resources. We need a change.”
Wilkins sees how the Trump White House’s decisions have uniquely harmed people of color — and will likely have consequences far into the future.
“The nomination of a conservative to the Supreme Court, stacking of lower courts in order to have cronies to carry out conservative ideas, most likely will affect Black and brown people,” Wilkins said. “They’ll affect things such as civil rights, Obamacare — all of these things have the potential to negatively impact minorities.”