As the news changes minute-to-minute, BET and Color Of Change are teaming up to make sure Black people have the information we need to stay informed, take action and demand an end to the systemic inequalities that are killing Black people.
As we approach Juneteenth, you may have noticed that the George Floyd protests are evolving from a demand for immediate justice to the demand for system change. A new demand to divest and defund the police is ringing in the streets, and even in the halls of power. In Minneapolis, they’ve even decided to replace the police department entirely.
The idea is simple, safety that’s rooted in violence doesn’t actually keep us safe, but there are other public services that could. Imagine what our communities would look like with a $115 billion boost, that’s how much state and local governments typically spend on police each year. We could make sure hospitals have the equipment they need to keep healthcare workers and patients alive during the COVID-19 pandemic. We could fully fund public education, two times over, and create a more equitable plan for online education. We could build a social safety net for the 30 million Americans now unemployed during the recession.
Downsizing these investments in police offers a unique opportunity to grow our communities and put police back in their place as a small part of our lives and our society. This week in the #TheBlackResponse, we’re coming together to not only demand divestments from police in city budgets, politics, corporations and in our culture as a whole, but also provide a plan on how you can support these efforts to bolster Black communities across the. nation.
In an unprecedented move, mayors across the country have made the commitment to decrease police funding and redirect that money to other parts of our society. Join us in demanding your elected officials begin the process of defunding the police and investing in community-based alternatives by texting DEFUND to 55156.
Companies can’t just put out a statement about this moment and then continue to put Black people in harm's way. One example is BlackRock CEO Larry Fink who wrote a letter to his employees from the investment management firm saying he was appalled by the murder of George Floyd, but continues to have his company fund the NYPD's attacks on protesters. BlackRock is one the world’s largest financial institutions in the world and donates millions of dollars to the NYPD each year--buying them guns, horses, and bomb-detonating robots. Help us explain to Larry Fink why the company should stop supporting the New York City Police Foundation and start supporting the Black lives he says matters in his company letter.
As the public, elected officials, labor unions and corporations stand up to protect Black people from racist police violence, there is one group that continues to walk on the outside of this issue: police unions. Leaders from the Fraternal Order Of Police have called protestors terrorists, while routinely defending violent and abusive officers. Meanwhile, the FOP has also been buying political influence, donating to elected officials who then refuse to hold police accountable when they kill Black people. Check the list of financials and demand your elected official sight the pledge to say "no" and reject or return police union donations now.
Earlier this month, Minneapolis’ City Council announced it would disband it’s police force in favor of community-led programs to keep people safe. This monumental move wouldnt have been possible without the organizing of The Black Visions Collective, a Black-led, Queer and Trans centered organization whose mission is to organize powerful, connected Black communities and dismantle systems of violence. Donate to help them continue this important work and set an example in Minneapolis that the rest of the country can follow.
Last week Color Of Change got two of the most watched crime TV shows, Cops and Live PD to be pulled from the air. Shows about police have been an ongoing problem in the television and entertainment industries, distorting criminal justice and crime and heroizing police, even when they break the law. Now we’re calling on Netflix to follow the industry trend and cancel Border Security: America's Front Line, a reality show that glorifies Border Patrol agents and the violence they commit against undocumented and documented immigrants. Help us tell Netflix to remove all cop shows from its platform today.
Rashad Robinson is President of Color Of Change, a leading racial justice organization with more than 1.7 million members that design winning strategies to build power for Black communities. Rashad appears regularly in major news media and as a keynote speaker nationally. You can find him on Twitter @RashadRobinson
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