In the midst of an ongoing worldwide pandemic, the US right now is fighting for the rights of black Americans in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. As protests continue into their second week, the collective Movement 4 Black Lives, a coalition of more than 100 black-rights organizations, penned an open letter to decrease police spending as part of their “five days of actions” initiative.
The letter arrived earlier this week in conjunction with #BlackOutTuesday and #TheShowMustBePaused, a grassroots campaign within the music industry to pause work on Tuesday, June 2nd, and “reconnect with our community.”
Movement 4 Black Lives co-founder Patrisse Cullors spoke with Variety and explained the coalition’s demand to defund law enforcement.
“Yes, a demand to defund essentially means, what places does law enforcement have money that is unnecessary? Law enforcement should not be the first responder for mental-health crises, they shouldn’t be the first responders for drug and alcohol abuse; there are a significant number of public health crises that law enforcement are forced to be the first responders to but should not be, and we could actually reallocate those dollars and give them back to the community. I’m talking about renegotiation of where we prioritize our money. Right now it’s mostly prisons and police, and we want to reallocate those dollars and put them into the community.”
So far, the letter has been signed by a number of individuals with high reach, celebrities, including John Legend, Common, the Weeknd, Lizzo, Jane Fonda, Steve Aoki, Megan Rapinoe, Yada Shahidi, Talib Kweli, Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Brie Larson, and Taraji P. Henson, and Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU.
Read the letter here.
PLACES TO DONATE:
Communities United Against Police Brutality
American Civil Liberties Union
SIGN A PETITION:
Justice for George Floyd on change.org
From the petition page: “We are trying to reach the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman to beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately.”
#JusticeforFloyd on act.colorofchange.org
From the petition letter: “I am outraged and disturbed by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Department officers. For seven minutes, George Floyd and bystanders cried out and pleaded for his life as your officers choked him to death in broad daylight. This is an act of police violence committed on an innocent, unarmed Black man. No one deserves what happened to George. And it’s up to you to grant justice. I’m calling on you, the Mayor, to 1) block their pensions and 2) ban them from becoming police officers ever again. And County Attorney Freeman and Attorney General Ellison must immediately charge ALL four officers with murder. We’re counting on you to secure justice for his family.“
CONTACT STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS:
Reach out to representatives to demand justice and accountability. Find contact information at the links below:
Minneapolis District Attorney Mike Freeman
via Variety, Rolling Stone | Photos via Rukes.com