WASHINGTON, D.C. – The murder-by-police of George Floyd shocked us to our core, broke our hearts, and enraged our sense of justice. Racial justice is at the core of NOW’s mission, and today, our membership is united in our determination to break down the foundation of racism, discrimination, and brutality at the core of law enforcement. We demand that corrupt and murderous police be prosecuted and that policies are enacted that ensure transparency and accountability in the vetting, hiring and supervision of law enforcement officers. NOW passed a resolution in 2018 calling for increased police accountability and impartial oversight of law enforcement to eradicate racially motivated excessive use of force, and we redouble these demands today.
NOW Vice President Christian Nunes says,
“What is happening in our country today is a response to the continued disregarded cry for peace our black brothers and sisters have been making for years. It is a reaction to the systematic racism, discrimination, daily racial micro aggressions, and the prejudiced response to their race as nothing more than a threat that deserves violent submission. It is not up to the black community to dismantle a system of oppression they did not create, but it is up to all allies to stand up, speak out, and make intentional and purposeful movements of solidarity. It is up to organizations, agencies, and law enforcement departments to deconstruct policies and practices that feed oppression, racism, and violence, and transform them into practices that promote racial equity and safety. It is challenging your own personal and/or organizational biases so that you can begin to create the narrative that communities of color are assets and not threats. It is creating a world where black skin means life and not death.”
NOW members, Black, Brown, Native American, Latina, and White have long stood up and named police brutality, calling out the system of white privilege not just as it is experienced by racially diverse members of society but also as it advantages white people. We are in this together as witnesses, united, standing shoulder to shoulder. For the first time we are seeing police officers join the marches and protests against police brutality. Change is happening. We are a driving force for change. We call on training academies and departments to teach de-escalation tactics instead of shoot first.
We applaud the community leaders, activists and grassroots protesters who are marching for justice all across the nation, and we are inspired by Black women Mayors like Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, and Lori Lightfoot of Chicago who are beacons of justice in these dark times. We are encouraging NOW members to join community meetings to speak their truth to power in the coming days and weeks.
Injustice to anyone is an injustice to all. We are all in this together. Our determination, outrage, and moral courage will not fail us as we redouble our efforts to end the violence and defeat injustice.