In response to the not guilty verdict in trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, a vigilante who murdered peaceful protestors who attended a Black Lives Matter protest in August 2020 that took place after a white Kenosha police officer shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake, YWCA Interim CEO and COO Elisha Rhodes has issued the following statement:
YWCA is dismayed by the verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse for the murders and shooting of peaceful protestors who attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020. To date, the criminal justice system has failed Jacob Blake and his loved ones by not bringing Rusten Sheskey — the police officer who shot Blake — to trial. With today’s verdict, the justice system has once again failed the Black community of Kenosha and communities of color across the country.
YWCA joins others who we know are deeply troubled and hurting by the consistent lack of accountability for the bold acts of white supremacy that continue to plague our nation. The violence, racism, and hatred demonstrated by neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and white supremacists like Kyle Rittenhouse, have no place in our judicial systems, our communities, or our nation. What makes this more difficult to bear is that the verdict in this trial will unfortunately further embolden white supremacists and sets a dangerous precedent that they are above the law.
Today, we continue to stand united with the people we serve and our community stakeholders in the pursuit of peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. In this moment, as we center our healing, we remain committed to doing the necessary work to break down the systemic barriers and the inequities that impact people of color because when the system fails one of us, it fails all of us.