We join in solidarity with the families and friends of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and with protestors demanding justice and accountability for all acts of police violence, and for an end to the racist system of policing that threatens the life, health and livelihood of Black people and communities.
Policing remains one of the principal forms of racial oppression, terror and violence inflicted on Black people in America. Policing is part of an overarching system of mass racial criminalization, in which Black people are more likely to be profiled, suspected, arrested, harassed, brutalized, incarcerated, and sentenced to death. Police brutality is among the most horrific manifestations of the deeply rooted history of racial violence in the U.S. This violence produces wide-ranging trauma, is a threat to mental and physical health and denies our humanity.
In the middle of a coronavirus pandemic made worse by the effects of systemic racism, Black Americans are at increased risk of contracting coronavirus and have a 3.5 times higher risk of death from COVID-19 than whites. Police violence and COVID-19 racial injustices are rooted in structural racism that has shaped institutions and workplaces including law enforcement and health care.
Racism is everywhere and it’s not surprising that we are seeing the same patterns in cities and towns across the U.S., in many places that CURE is working with partners to build capacity to undo racism in their organizations and to shift power to the communities that they serve. We spent a good part of last year in St. Paul, Minnesota facilitating racial equity conversations and our hearts hurt for our friends, colleagues and the communities directly impacted by the events of the past few days.
While city governments are cutting funding to housing, health care, mental health and other critical social services, policing budgets are increasing. Ending police violence will take comprehensive action including community-based alternatives to policing, community oversight of law enforcement to ensure transparency and accountability, and defunding police departments and redirecting funds to support housing, jobs, health care, schools, and resources that eliminate the need for police and give our communities room to thrive.
We look forward to building with and continuing to listen and learn from organizers, colleagues and partners as we work to build a just future together. For more information and to support organizers working to end police violence:
Black Visions Collective: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org
Reclaim the Block: https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home
Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com
A World Without Police: http://aworldwithoutpolice.org
Sociologists for Justice: https://sociologistsforjustice.org
Campaign Zero: https://www.joincampaignzero.org