It Is Our Responsibility to Participate in Ending the Culture of Racism and Violence

Like many of you, we are astonished, outraged and saddened by the racist violence and the injustices faced by people of color in this country, most recently by the killings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. We agree with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) who was quoted today in the Washington Post as saying, “There is a systematic targeting of African Americans and a systematic lack of accountability.” Whose job is it to hold our community leaders and law enforcement accountable? It is ours – all of ours. But that is not all we must do – there is so much work to be done to combat this crisis – a crisis which is not new, but thanks to communication technology, is increasingly coming to light.

We must stand together in outrage. We must join the protests – physically in our city, state and federal communities; not just in writing on social media.

We must acknowledge how each of us has contributed to the culture of racism and violence perpetuating in our society, even if we didn’t intend to. We must take the necessary steps to change this, even if we are having difficulty seeing how it directly affects our own lives.

We must talk about this with each other. We must bring the conversations back to emphasize that the executions of black people by police officers is about racism. Period. This isn’t about the circumstances, and no explanation of circumstances excuses the actions of law enforcement. What we all know is that white people in the exact same circumstances would not be shot and killed in the same way. Let’s remember that these are illegal killings, yet the officers involved are not being held accountable and the victims are not getting any justice.

What constitutes justice for someone who lost their loved one in an act of racist violence? Perhaps the best we can do to honor the people who lost their lives is to come together and end these injustices once and for all.

Join the protests. Stand and rally with the activist groups in your communities who are organizing demonstrations.

Demand for your leaders in your local community, state, and federal governments to take action. Demand it from the Department of Justice.

Put your money where your mouth is. Donate to and join organizations working on the front lines of this issue:

Campaign Zero: http://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision

Showing Up for Racial Justice: http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/splash?splash=1

Educate yourself and the people in your life and challenge them to think and act differently. Ask them to join you in making real change. Don’t allow them to divert attention away from the real issue – bring them back to what is at its core.

Police violence against people of color is absolutely a reproductive justice issue.  As Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong states, “While there is without a doubt an epidemic of police violence and brutality against Black men and women and the overall need to address injustice in the criminal justice system, racism and white supremacy filters through every system and every community in this country. This is so much bigger than one system. It starts young when Black boys and girls are 3.5 times more likely than their white classmates to be suspended or expelled and continues throughout our lives when we are overrepresented in low wage jobs, experience higher rates of unemployment and continue to face huge disparities in access to quality health care resulting in much poorer outcomes and a maternal health crisis.”

It is our responsibility to stop the culture of racism and violence. It is time to stop standing on the sidelines and act now.

Below are some articles/blogs/images worth reading and sharing:

http://www.justinccohen.com/blog/2016/7/6/advice-for-white-folks-in-the-wake-of-the-police-murder-of-a-black-person

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/13-painful-facts-about-alton-sterlings-life-and-death_us_577d1220e4b09b4c43c1b14e?

http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Alton-Sterling-.html?soid=1102470515351&aid=0ryxay32h2A

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/monica-raye-simpson/challenge-to-white-allies-in-new-year_b_8924430.html

sotomayor quote

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