On the Eve of the National Black Convention, We Recommit to Building Power in Defense of Black Lives
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2020
Nancy Treviño, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yancy Nunez, email@example.com
The following is a joint statement (in English and Spanish) from Presente.org and Alianza Americas:
On Sunday, August 23rd, Jacob Blake, a Black resident of Kenosha, WI, and a native of Evanston, IL, was shot multiple times in the back, in broad daylight, and in front of his children by Rusten Sheskey, a local police officer. A bystander caught the shooting on video, which was the catalyst for mass demonstrations over the last several days.
Our hearts go out to Jacob Blake’s family and his beloved Kenosha community. The growing presence, resistance, and movement building in the face of so much pain and death give us hope. But we need more than hope — we need to make sure that the tragedies stop.
Violent, cowardly, and reckless actions perpetrated by law enforcement agents have led thousands to take to the streets of Kenosha and across cities in the United States. The attacks on protestors, including the murder of at least two demonstrators in Kenosha, are the further result of the negligence of a Kenosha Police Department officer and local racist vigilantes.
Tragically, protesting police violence in this country now means you may need to treat a gunshot wound, be kidnapped by federal police, or worse, killed by heavily armed, racist militia members who may be collaborating with law enforcement. Police violence has become a nationwide human rights crisis, but we can do something about it. Indeed, killer cops must be fired, arrested, and prosecuted. And we cannot stop there. For us to truly address this human rights crisis and for things to change, the voices and power of everyday people will need to outmatch the political power and resources of law enforcement.
Furthermore, in light of the well documented long history of abuse by law enforcement entities, particularly against Black, Latinx, Native Americans, and other targeted groups in the U.S.; the very notion and practice of law enforcement must be redefined from head to toe. To the extent that police forces continue to be part of the future, they must become subject to greater community control, including control over their budgets, funding, policies, and most of all, their practices. As a Latinx and a migrant alliance, we stand in solidarity with the Black community, including our Afro-Latinx and Black members.
On the eve of the Black National Convention organized by the Movement for Black Lives, we know that profound and systemic changes are urgently needed. It is past time for violent policing patterns to come to an end, and prevent future injustices. As Jacob Blake’s sister implored during a press conference this week, “…human life, let it marinate in your mouth, in your mind. A human life. Just like every single one of y’all…We are human and his life matters. I’m not sad. I don’t want your pity. I want change.”
Presente.org is the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group; advancing social justice with technology, media, and culture.
Alianza Americas is a network of migrant-led organizations working in the United States and transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.