Reflections on the Effects of Systemic Racial Biases in America


By: Rhea Almeida and Luisa Portugal

This podcast series includes NYU policy students that will analyze policy issues and solutions emerging in real-time around the country.


The American criminal justice system has continuously failed to hold police officers accountable for excessive force against Black Americans. It is hard to ignore the injustices so many Black Americans face today. In the middle of a global pandemic, yet again we mourn the death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd. On May 25th, 2020, Officer Derek Chauvin along with two additional officers pinned Floyd to the ground with Chauvin’s knee compressed on his neck for eight minutes, ultimately killing him. Two medical examiners— one hired by the family of George Floyd and the other hired by Hennepin County— have concluded his death was a homicide. Four days later, Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman announced that after reviewing video evidence and autopsy reports, his office “does not have enough evidence to criminally charge the four police officers” with his death— setting off what would be days of national outrage and protest. As of today, Officer Chauvin has been the only officer charged with his death, the case has since then been handed over to the Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison for prosecution.

As we’ve seen with previous cases of fatal police brutality, it is unlikely that all of the officers involved will be held accountable for their actions. Not only is it important to seek justice for Floyd and many before him, but it’s more important that the American legal system works harder to eradicate systemic racial bias.

Alexandra Kirton and Tasia Hawkins shed a light on the racial inequalities their family has faced, how non-Black allies can engage in these conversations, along with their experience on what it’s like to be Black in America.

Transcript:

0:00: Welcome from hosts Rhea and Luisa

0:34: Message from Tiffany Rose Miller, Editor-in-Chief of The Wagner Review

3:50: Luisa Introducing speakers Alexandra Kirton and Tasia Hawkins

16:47: Wrap up


Guest Speakers

Alexandra Kirton is a first-year MPA student at NYU Wagner specializing in International Development Management & Policy. She was recently awarded the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service and will work with the NYC Department of Emergency Management. Her past experience includes working as a federal contractor for the US Government in international trade and development.

Tasia Hawkins is a first-year MPA student at NYU Wagner specializing in Advocacy and Political Action. She works in social impact at Google, where she focuses on creating economic opportunity for underserved communities, and is passionate about racial justice and ending mass incarceration. She currently serves as a member of Getting Out and Staying Out’s action board, a criminal justice nonprofit organization. Tasia has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University.


Hosts

Rhea Almeida is first-year MPA international student at NYU Wagner hailing from Mumbai, India. In the past, she has worked in the fields of policy, advocacy, and development for a women’s working rights group in India. Prior to that, she worked as a TV news journalist in New Delhi. Her areas of interest include workers’ rights, gender equality, grassroot level advocacy and coronavirus response policy. In addition to being contributing editor for The Wagner Review, she serves as senator for the Wagner Student Association, and events chair for the Wagner Policy Alliance. She is also the co-founder of the ‘What’s up with Coronavirus Policy’ discussion group.

Luisa Portugal is a first-year MPA student at NYU Wagner specializing in International Development Management & Policy. She earned an LLM in Constitutional Law and Theory in Brazil. Her main topics of interest are international development, climate change and the coronavirus crisis. Luisa will serve as Co-Chair of Events for the Alliance for Climate Change and Environment (ACE) in the upcoming year. She is also the co-founder of the ‘What’s up with Coronavirus Policy’ discussion group.


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Music Credit: Pamgaea by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4193-pamgaea
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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