Ujamaa Place CEO Otis Zanders on the killing of Amir Locke

First and foremost, on behalf of our organization and the Ujamaa Men, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the parents and family of Amir Locke, as well as friends and all who are grieving his loss. 

It’s difficult to put into words what I’m feeling, but I’m going to try. Less than a year apart, two Minnesota police officers were convicted for the unjustified killings of 2 black men, George Floyd and Daunte Wright. We can’t even catch our breath, before another one… Just when we begin to think we’re making strides, we are reminded of how far we have yet to climb. 

I worry about the emotional toll this takes on the population we serve — young Black Men, aged 18-30. I worry they will lose hope believing they have a target on their back and it could be them next. To Black Men everywhere: Silence the thoughts swirling in your mind about what the world thinks of you. They are untrue. You are good. You matter. And you are worthy of love. 
Urgent ask of our community: will you please join me in praying for the Ujamaa Men, Black Men everywhere, and the family of Amir Locke in the coming weeks? 

In the pits of our despair, we mustn’t get discouraged. When we feel like giving up, we must channel the strength of our ancestors, knowing they are with us, and we must live to fight another day. I know it’s difficult, and we’ve been through enough already, but we are a mighty people. We must not forget that we are not alone either. Living in Minnesota, I like to think we’re lucky because for every bad apple, there are many more white allies willing to stand with us in this fight against injustice. White allies, we need you now. 

Amir’s life mattered. Amir did not deserve to die like this. Amir’s family should not be dealing with this loss right now. A moratorium on no-knock warrants is too little, too late. We demand comprehensive and permanent police and criminal justice reform NOW. We stand with our community in demanding #JusticeforAmirLocke. 
Rest in power, dear brother, Amir. We’ll take it from here…
Otis Zanders, CEO Ujamaa Place