In response to the continued violence against Black Americans at the hands of police officers, Movement 4 Black Lives shared an open letter calling for decreased funding for police departments.
As the wave of daily protests and peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors released the letter on behalf of Movement 4 Black Lives, a collective composed of over 100 Black rights organizations, on Tuesday (June 2).
According to Rolling Stone, John Legend, Common, The Weeknd, Lizzo, Yara Shahidi, Talib Kweli, and Taraji P. Henson along with a slew of big name celebrities signed the letter.
The letter petitioned local governments to redirect funding from the police and allocate them towards health care, education, and community programs. Acknowledging of the recent police killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed and Tony McDade, the letter underscored how the Black community has faced disproportionate treatment by law enforcement. It also highlighted the disproportionate impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the Black community, which is further magnified by existing inequalities in the healthcare system.
“The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other. The United States does not have a national healthcare system,” the letter reads. “Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too.”
“Police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the US Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs,’” it continued.
“The time has come to defund the police. Where could that money go? It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future. The possibilities are endless.”
Learn more about the Movement 4 Black Lives coalition here.
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Photo from left: Lester Cohen/Getty Images, Steve Granitz/WireImage and GP Images/Getty Images)