Response to Kent Co. Prosecutor’s Announcement
We support the decision by Kent County Prosecutor, Chris Becker, to issue formal charges in Mr. Lyoya’s murder. It is a critically important step in the right direction. Sixty-seven days have passed since Mr. Lyoya and Officer Schurr crossed paths, but we recognize that pursuing justice in a courtroom will take months more. We also recognize that this is just one leg of a much, much longer journey that we must all take.
Legal justice is a mechanism to achieve a measure of social justice. What happens inside a courtroom is consequential. It is an important space for the work of justice to take place. And courtrooms are where we find resolutions, but seldom real, lasting solutions. Inside the courtroom we have to take sides. Outside the courtroom we can – and must – take a seat at the same table to do better, to be better.
This tragedy has come to embody the racial divisions, the inequities, and the imbalance of power and privilege in our community. In reality, these issues – which have existed here for generations – extend far beyond any two people or any single tragedy. It is our individual and collective responsibility to undo the very real impact that racism has had here. It falls to each of us to repair and rebuild. To work for peace, justice and freedom. To lift up the dignity of each person and all people.
Where racism and sexism give rise to domestic and sexual violence, the YWCA West Central Michigan transforms lives with expert services for victims, education to end those things that fuel abuse, and public policy that translates our mission into law.