The tragic police killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown hit home for millions across the country. The horror of losing a loved one, to senseless, racially-motivated police violence is a daily threat in the lives of Black people in America. In a time when law enforcement kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings,1 discriminatory and violent policing is a national crisis.
National leaders are paying more attention to racial profiling and police brutality than they have in years, due to the hard work of Black youth and community leaders in Ferguson and across the country.2 In order to capture the momentum of this moment and secure long-term, systemic reforms that transform policing nationwide, we need the federal government to intervene and set a higher standard of policing.
Demand a strong and enforceable federal prohibition on police brutality, a nationwide investigation into police violence in every state, and defunding of federal grants that incentivize abusive and militarized policing.
While we continue to fight for justice for Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham and so many others whose lives have been taken at the hands of racially-motivated and violent local law enforcement, the federal government has a clear role to play in overturning the conditions that led to these tragedies, and setting a higher standard of policing across the country.In key ways, the standards, policies, and practices of the executive branch set the tone and tactics of local and state law enforcement.
For decades, our communities have worked tirelessly to combat the wholesale criminalization of Black Americans and the unimaginable police violence that threatens our children, parents, and friends every day. A walk to the store or drive to the mall have long held the risk of an unwarranted search, false arrest, or death. But we are in a historic time and how we capture this time will impact generations to come — the kind of world our children live in, the types of freedoms they have to fight for.
With Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation approaching, now is the time to push the Department of Justice to do much more.5Widespread public pressure can keep this issue at the top of the administration’s agenda, and push them to move forward before this major change in DOJ leadership. Next week, community members in Ferguson are organizing a Weekend of Resistance to build momentum for a nationwide movement to end police brutality.6 We need your support to move federal officials beyond symbolic actions to systemic reforms that protect the civil and human rights of all communities.
Thanks and Peace,
— Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Lyla, Jamar and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
October 18th, 2014
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