The Black Lives Matter movement began in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an African-American teenager who was walking in a predominantly White neighborhood in Sanford, Florida. The movement has continued to grow, fueled by the deaths of a growing number of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers, and has organized and inspired protests and demonstrations across the United States.
The movement highlights the stark contrast in how Black and White Americans are treated in this country and cites the mass incarceration, hyper-criminalization with attendant surveillance and control tactics, and sexualization of Black people as evidence of state violence that deprives Black people of their basic civil rights and dignity.
But these deprivations are experienced at the local level in our own neighborhoods right here in Westchester. And not just in the uneven application of law enforcement. It is not simply ironic that the Black Lives Matter movement began after a Black youth was found walking in a White neighborhood. Segregation deepens the divide between how White and Black people are viewed and treated, deepens the sense of privilege of White people and fosters their reluctance to allow Black people, who in the minds of the privileged are likely to engage in unsavory activity, access to our “better” neighborhoods.
The ongoing segregation of Westchester County municipalities is stark and damaging and deepens the profound divide between Black and White people in our county. ECSW’s Clergy Leader, Bart Worden, will speak to the issues and report on efforts to bring change to Westchester.