Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Treyvon Martin. Tony McDade. David McAtee. Ahmaud Arbery. Eleanor Bumpurs. Amadou Diallo. Kimani Grey. Eric Garner. Akai Gurley. David Felix. Delrawn Small. Deborah Danner. Saheed Vassell. Fred Hampton. And so so many others. We mourn all their deaths and we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
The pandemic of police violence against Black Lives is reprehensible and must be stopped. Immediately.
We know that police violence is not the only way Black Lives are treated with disdain and disregard. Structural inequality and white supremacy run deep in housing systems and policies.
What does it mean that during one of the worst public health pandemics our city has ever seen, we refuse to house homeless New Yorkers, most of whom are Black and Brown? What does it mean that in NYC, 86% of homeless single adults and 93% of heads-of-household in family shelters identify as Black or Hispanic? What does it mean that we refuse to cancel rent while billionaires amass fortunes? What does it mean that the eviction courts plan to open, traumatizing the lives, health and safety of Black and Brown families, threatening homelessness and displacement during a pandemic? What does it mean when our government can quickly mobilize resources to terrorize protesters but won’t mobilize resources to support the medical workers who are trying to keep us safe and alive?
Our government historically, continually and violently exalts private property over people’s fundamental human needs, dignity and rights. Evictions are a reflection of this: they are violent and unnecessary with traumatic lasting consequences. We oppose government-sponsored violence against Black lives in all its forms.
We stand in solidarity with the protesters who have risked their lives to support Black Lives Matter, to oppose police brutality and to imagine a new world.
We support the calls to Defund the NYPD and to invest in the systems that help us lead full lives.
A society where Black Lives Matter must also cancel rent, house homeless people and keep the eviction courts closed.
We have always said that all evictions are violent and unjust. Evictions literally say that a landlord's right to profit is more important than a tenant's right to a home. And we use our state resources---through the courts and the police---to violently enforce landlords' right to profit, causing trauma, displacement, homelessness and destabilizing communities of color. That is systemic and racist state violence.
We will continue to work for an NYC free of eviction, for a world in which housing is a human right and for a world in which we don’t have to say Black Lives Matter.
See also our coalition members’ statements:
- Flatbush Tenant Coalition
- Safety Net Project, Urban Justice Center
- Goddard Riverside Community Center
- Housing Court Answers
- Institute for Justice and Opportunity, John Jay College
- Joint Defender Statement, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, The Legal Aid Society, The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Queens Defenders, New York County Defender Services