Statement on the killing of Daunte Wright

Press Release
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Statement on the killing of Daunte Wright

“Today, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center joins those mourning Daunte Wright's death. We condemn, yet again, another killing of an unarmed Black man by police. In this instance, at the hands of a 26-year veteran officer. We mourn the lack of decency and humanity afforded to a dying man denied immediate medical assistance.

The frequency of these incidents is soul-crushing and distressing. That they so often happen in the presence of the 'victim's loved ones is heartbreaking. A generation will grow up with scars where their father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter should be. In the wake of these murders are broken hearts, broken families, broken communities, and broken trust. These conditions' cumulative effect continues to take a heavy toll on our society and yearns for disruptive change.

We are angered by the half-hearted promises of change and greater accountability in our nation's policing system. Repeatedly, Black communities are driven to grief, anger and fear by those sworn to protect them as citizens of this nation at a disproportionately higher rate than other groups.

We must not succumb to the temptation to accept these situations as "normal." We deserve better, and demand better. We are entitled to human dignity underpinned by an unbiased justice system that will seek to protect us rather than oppress us. We are entitled to the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, and protection against cruel and unusual punishment as promised in the United States Constitution.

We must continue to demand accountability and see real commitment to the elimination of racial inequities embedded in many policing systems in this country. We demand policing that will increasingly emphasize deescalating situations over lethal force and eliminate the racial profiling caused by implicit bias that too often causes routine law enforcement activities to disproportionately result in the loss of lives for Black and brown people.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stands with those in this nation who are mourning, are hurting and are angry. I challenge you to channel those emotions toward advocacy. Protest vigorously to make your voices heard, but do so peacefully, so that we can mend our country without adding more scars.”

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery,
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