On April 11, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was killed by a Brooklyn Center police officer during a traffic stop in a senseless and inexcusable act of violence. Wright was murdered less than 10 miles from the courtroom where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, is being held. Wright’s murder is just the most recent example of the rampant and consistent violence against Black Americans by law enforcement.
There’s nothing that we can say here that hasn’t been said before. But that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary to reiterate: Black lives matter and serious police reform is necessary. We stand in solidarity with the protestors — in Minnesota and across the country — risking their lives to fight racial injustice.
Sometimes it’s hard to fully process the immense tragedy of such a devastating event when names become reduced to statistics. Wright was 20 years old, with a 2-year-old son and a loving girlfriend. He was the same age as many of our classmates here at Kenyon.
However, even as we grapple with these sobering facts, it is impossible to begin to comprehend the intense grief that Wright’s family and friends must be experiencing. And, as white people, there is no way for us to truly understand the lived experience of what it means to be a Black man in America today.
On June 9, 2020, we published a staff editorial about the murder of George Floyd and institutional racism in America. In it, we noted how it is our duty as allies and as white members of the Kenyon community to demand justice for Black communities and for the Black lives that have been unjustly taken by police. We must continue to actively educate ourselves on our privilege and call out racism in our community.
To Kenyon students: Grieve how you see fit. We can all work to make a difference in our own way — by protesting, educating, donating and staying engaged. We should remember that empathy and compassion are two of our greatest tools. We must use them to ensure that Kenyon becomes a truly anti-racist institution and that our campus is a place where Black students — and all students of color — feel safe and welcome.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Mae Hunt ’21 and Evey Weisblat ’21, managing editor Jackson Wald ’22 and executive director Elizabeth Stanley ’21. You can contact them at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.