Derecka Purnell Outlines Three Racial Justice Demands That Professional Athletes Can Support Right Now

Derecka Purnell (‘17), human rights lawyer, writer, and organizer, contributed a commentary to The Appeal calling on professional athletes to demand more than prosecutions in police killings of Black people and for players to use their influence to create transformational change (“Support the NBA Strike, Boycott the Police,” Aug. 27). Derecka challenged teams to continue to organize and refuse pressure from owners to resume their seasons, to call on the cities they represent to endorse defunding the police, and to demand that their cities create reparations commissions for victims of police, prison, and vigilante violence. “[W]e must defund the police who killed Breonna Taylor, not merely arrest the officers who killed her and other Black people. The criminal legal system is a guilty system responsible for our oppression. It cannot also be the guardian of our liberation. The only way to stop police from shooting and killing Black people is to stop contact between them. The only way to do that is to shrink the size and scope of policing by reducing their resources.”