On September 23, 1955 closing arguments were presented in the Bryant-Milam trial; after an hour of deliberations, the jury returned with a “Not Guilty” verdict acquitting two brothers for the lynching of Emmett Till. On the same day, 65 years later, another Black life was betrayed by the judicial system. Breonna Taylor – killed while sleeping in her own home – became another victim of needless violence. We share in the hurt and frustration of thousands across this nation who fundamentally understand that Black lives – and Black women – matter.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus decries the decision delivered by a Kentuckian grand jury to not criminally charge Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove for firing 30-rounds of bullets into Ms. Taylor’s home. The charges on which Hankison was indicted prioritize concern for hypothetical harm over the actual death of Breonna Taylor. Let us be clear wanton endangerment is not a murder charge; we will continue to say her name and push for accountability when mechanisms of justice fail Black and brown lives.
As a legislative Caucus committed to uplifting and advocating for the marginalized and the silenced we will continue to fight for reforms that protect members of our community. We mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor and call for justice that has yet to be delivered.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus condemns the recent acts of violence against Major Aubery Gregory and Officer Robinson Desroches in Louisville, Kentucky. We unequivocally condemn all forms of violence and acts which splinter our community and hinder the progress that must be built together.
In a time of unprecedented unrest and uncertainty it is vital that we find modes of connection that inspire healing and dialogue. We must form bridges with one another and violence against any member of our community threatens the stability and longevity of those pathways.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Major Gregory, Officer Desroches, and their families during this time as we hope for their swift recovery.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus joins the entire Commonwealth in expressing our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Chief Justice Gants – a profound steward of justice and equity.
We grieve the loss of Justice Gants who proved a partner and friend to the MBLLC for many years, always extending opportunities for dialogue; and consistently finding vehicles to identify and address racial inequities present in our judicial and criminal justice systems.
Justice Gants embodied the empathy and leadership that the work of systemic change calls for and as we mourn this deep loss we are reminded that allies and partners in the work of racial parity can always be found among us.
In the spirit and memory of Justice Gants, we continue in the fight of making our judicial system one that acknowledges and confronts racial bias and prejudice at every level.
MBLLC log posts are curated by the Caucus Executive Director.