Racial and Economic Justice
Fighting the five types of violence perpetrated against minorities by systemic racism
Perpetrated by the State - Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jessica Hernandez, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Samuel DuBose and Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas. We know their names. Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody. The chants are growing louder. People are angry and they have a right to be angry. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that this violence only affects those whose names have appeared on TV or in the newspaper. African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. African-American and Latinos comprise well over half of all prisoners, even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one quarter of the total US population.
1. Physical Violence
Perpetrated by Extremists - We are far from eradicating racism in this country. Today in America, if you are black, you can be killed for getting a pack of Skittles during a basketball game. Or murdered in your church while you are praying. This violence fills us with outrage, disgust and a deep, deep sadness. These hateful acts of violence amount to acts of terror. They are perpetrated by extremists who want to intimidate and terrorize black, brown and indigenous people in this country.
What can we do to help?
Revised police use of force policies should protect human life and rights. Policies should include guidance on reporting, investigation, discipline, and accountability and increase transparency by making the policies available online. This use of force policy should require officers to:
Restrict officers from using deadly force unless all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted (Ex: Philadelphia PD Policy)
Use minimum amount of force to apprehend a subject, with specific guidelines for the types of force and tools authorized for a given level of resistance (Ex: Seattle PD Policy)
De-escalate first (Ex: Seattle PD Policy)
Carry a less-lethal weapon (Ex: Seattle PD Policy)
Ban using force on a person for talking back or as punishment for running away (Ex: Cleveland PD Policy)
Intervene to stop other officers who are using excessive force and report them to a supervisor (Ex: Las Vegas Metro PD Policy)
Have first aid kits and immediately render medical assistance to anyone in police custody who is injured or who complains of an injury (Ex: New Baltimore PD Policy)
Join us as we support Giffords PAC to end gun violence.
In the shameful days of open segregation, literacy laws and poll taxes were used to suppress minority voting. Today, through other laws and actions — such as requiring voters to show photo ID, discriminatory drawing of Congressional districts, restricting same-day registration and early voting and aggressively purging voter rolls — states are taking steps which have a similar effect.
How do I help?
2. Political Violence - Disenfranchisement
The measure of success for law enforcement should not be how many people get locked up. We need to invest in drug courts as well as medical and mental health interventions for people with substance abuse problems, so that people struggling with addiction do not end up in prison, they end up in treatment.
For people who have committed crimes that have landed them in jail, there needs to be a path back from prison. The federal system of parole needs to be reinstated. We need real education and real skills training for the incarcerated.We must end the over-incarceration of nonviolent young Americans who do not pose a serious threat to our society. It is an international embarrassment that we have more people locked up in jail than any other country on earth – more than even the Communist totalitarian state of China. That has got to end.
How do I help?
3. Legal Violence
Let us not forget: It was the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street that nearly drove the economy off of a cliff seven years ago. While millions of Americans lost their jobs, homes, life savings and ability to send their kids to college, African-Americans who were steered into expensive subprime mortgages were the hardest hit.
Most black and Latino households have less than $350 in savings. The black unemployment rate has remained roughly twice as high as the white rate over the last 40 years, regardless of education. Real African-American youth unemployment is over 50 percent. African-American women earn 64 cents for every dollar white men make. This is unacceptable. The American people in general want change — they want a better deal. A fairer deal. A new deal. They want an America with laws and policies that truly reward hard work with economic mobility. They want an America that affords all of its citizens with the economic security to take risks and the opportunity to realize their full potential.
4. Economic Violence
People of color disproportionately experience a daily assault on their health and environment. Communities of color are the hardest hit by air and water pollution from industrial factories, power plants, incinerators, chemical waste and lead contamination from old pipes and paint. At the same time, they lack access to parks, gardens and other recreational green space.
Like income inequality, environmental inequality is rapidly growing in the United States. Nationwide, the health of communities is consistently ignored in favor of the profits of corporate polluters. The fact that people of color breathe 46 percent more nitrogen dioxide —which causes respiratory diseases and heart conditions — than whites helps explain why one in six African-American kids has asthma.
How do I help?