The killing of Stephanie Voikin by Miami-Dade police this month has been a shocking incident, but not one unbroken from this country’s tradition of police violence against the most oppressed communities.
Voikin was a survivor of domestic violence squatting in an apartment two counties away from her previous address, where her abuser may have been staying. On April 6, the Miami-Dade “Eviction Squatter Task Force” showed up to her door to serve an eviction notice. In the confrontation, Voiken fired a shot at police attempting to enter the home. Police returned fire, killing her.
Instead of receiving any sort of help from the state in her incredibly vulnerable situation, Voikin was given a choice by Miami-Dade’s Eviction Squatter Task Force: eviction or death. Her death at the hands of police is a reminder that the capitalist state cares more about property than it does people, and that this racist, patriarchal, authoritarian state will sacrifice lives for capital.
Though city officials and the police thought this would just go away, on April 10, organizers, activists and members of the community held a vigil at Bayfront Park in Miami for Voikin and other victims of deadly evictions that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty-nine candles were lit, one for Stephanie Voikin and 28 others for each of the evictions carried out every day in Miami-Dade County. The goal was to share thoughts and outrage over this incident and to demand justice and accountability. Speakers included representatives of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and Miami Tenants Union, as well as health professionals and others, all demanding and hoping that Mayor Danielle Levine Cava, or any official willing to listen, will do something to make sure no one else falls victim to police terror and eviction.