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05/29/2020 | Justice Transformation

Only When We Divest from Policing and Invest in Communities Will Black People Find Real Liberation

"The only way for us to win real liberation is to transform our systems by divesting from policing, investing in community-led solutions, and demanding that politicians take concrete legislative action at every level from the City Council to Congress."

05.29.2020

WASHINGTON -- Jennifer Epps-Addison, Network President and Co-Executive Director of Center for Popular Democracy, issued the following statement on the events in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Sean Reed.

These are just a few of the Black people murdered in just the last month because of white supremacy and the pervasive anti-Blackness that permeates every aspect of our society. We mourn them and the countless other victims of state violence and racial terror whose names have not garnered national attention.

Black people have grown weary of this cycle of oppression, violence, and of being told to peacefully reform a system of oppression that is working exactly the way it was designed. We are tired of perpetual fear that we, or someone we love, will be next.

We have seen this before: Anti-Black violence occurs; leaders shake their heads and offer thoughts and prayers; we go to the streets to demand action and accountability but none occurs, only empty rhetoric. It’s time to move beyond rhetoric.

The uprisings in Minneapolis and Louisville are a legitimate and necessary reaction to militarized, aggressive policing, and a criminal justice system that claims more of our people every day without consequence. While recent news that former officer Derek Chauvin will be charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter is welcome, the other three officers are equally as culpable for their lack of action to stop a public execution.

Even if the uprisings secure a conviction of the officers involved, those convictions alone will not deliver the freedom and justice Black communities deserve. The only way for us to win real liberation is to transform our systems by divesting from policing, investing in community-led solutions, and demanding that politicians take concrete legislative action at every level from the City Council to Congress.

Over the last 30 years, at both the national and local levels, governments have dramatically increased their spending on criminalization, policing, and mass incarceration while drastically cutting investments in basic infrastructure and slowing investment in social safety net programs.

Making our communities safer means providing a living wage, increasing access to holistic health services and treatment, educational opportunities, and stable housing, not additional investments in police or prisons.

At the federal level, CPD has endorsed the resolution put forth by Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05), in partnership with Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and the excessive use of force.

At the local level, we ask that those who believe in freedom support Black-led organizations putting their lives at risk to hold police systems to account and working to ensure that the rise in racial terror against Black communities does not persist.

The CPD network is rooted in the belief that through our collective action we can build a world where each and every person has the freedom to thrive. We know that when a new world emerges, it will be birthed by the struggle, labor and love of Black communities. We invite others to join us by giving to organizations that are fighting for freedom on the frontlines right now: Black Visions Collective, Minnesota Freedom Fund, Northstar Health Collective, Reclaim the Block, Unicorn Riot, Just Georgia Coalition, and Louisville Community Bail Fund.

 

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Media Contact: press@populardemocracy.org

Friday, May 29, 2020