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City Year statement on the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict

Our community shares in the shock, outrage and anguish of the not guilty verdict for Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people and injured another with a rifle he carried into a crowd that was protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of a Kenosha, WI police officer.

The weight of centuries of discrimination, gross inequities, racial hatred and an unending cycle of violence and death for Black and Brown people bears down on our AmeriCorps members and staff and the students and schools we serve across the country.

“I want to name that the real struggle that we find ourselves in is seeking accountability, not justice, when life is taken at the hands of white men,” said City Year Milwaukee Executive Director Stephanie Maney-Hartlaub.

“It bears repeating the constant anguish that many of us endure as we watch case after case and cling to hope for sustained, systemic change. Milwaukee, Kenosha, and this country are bleeding from wounds first inflicted to Black and Brown people hundreds of years ago.”

While City Year’s work in schools doesn’t directly help to change our broken judicial system, AmeriCorps members help to advance educational equity and social justice by showing up consistently every day for students, said City Year Chief Equity Officer Stephen Spaloss—work that is even more critical in light of today’s not guilty verdict.

“The students we serve, and Black children, specifically, should not be forced to be submissive to white people because of fear for their lives,” Spaloss said. “The kids we work with need to know they are valuable and important and they deserve the right to not have to grow up scared that they won’t live long enough to accomplish their hopes and dreams.”

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