Dear Ambassador Kyle McCarter,
We come here today to deliver this note crafted by Kenyans and U.S. Americans who call Kenya home (as you do). We are here because we collectively can no longer accept leadership, foreign or domestic, that does not acknowledge the atrocities happening in the U.S. or in Kenya.
Before you read on, remember this is all happening within the backdrop of Covid-19. The world collectively is suffering and we deserve better leadership. We do not deserve leaders who will terrorize us while insulting our expression of suffering.
These cruel acts include, but are not limited to the life and air literally being squeezed out of George Floyd, a black man, community activist, and a family man. Mr. Floyd was murdered by a police officer empowered by the government you serve, who acted with the knowledge that the system will protect his actions and condemn Mr. Floyd. This perpetuates the narrative that a black body is a threat and it’s destruction is not only understood, but expected. Unfortunately, this is one of many cases that we could draw your attention to in solidarity with the outpour around the world these past few weeks.
As for Kenya, the country you call home, we call your attention to the young boy Yassin Moyo, who was shot by police in his home balcony under the excuse of curfew. Indeed, tens of citizens have lost their lives to police brutality these past few months.
The U.S. provides Kenya with over US$8 million in anti-terrorism law enforcement support annually, along with hardware and training. In 2015, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights documented 120 cases of egregious human rights violations during counterterrorism operations, including 25 extrajudicial killings and 81 enforced disappearances. Your silence may be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of a ‘norm’ – that in trying to neutralise global threats by force, justice for abuses against ordinary Kenyans must take second place.
You are complicit to this, and to the loss of lives of other Kenyans at the hand of extra-judicial killings by the Kenyan Police. A police force devoid of the requirement for police reforms, or adherence to the strict implementation of the rule of law. A police force funded and supported by the United States. Your silence endorses these tactics.
Today we are coming together to stand up against a system of white supremacy, systemic oppression and everything that grows from the tentacles of its oppressive reach. We seek for you and your office to condemn what we’ve stated above and commit to actions to heal the damage done. We demand the U.S. government to:
1) ensure that strict adherence to the rule of law and human rights standards are incorporated in the counter-terrorism response strategies in Kenya that are funded or supported by the U.S. government.
2) address systemic oppression and injustice being perpetrated against black people in the U.S.
We are here because we believe in equality and social justice. Police brutality is propelled by systems of inequality, systems such as structural racism and socio-economic inequality. We are here because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are here because silence is compliance, and indeed silence is violence.