WBWPC CALLS FOR A REDRESS OF THE FOUNDATION OF OUR NATION – WHERE RACISM IS NO MORE IN MEMORY OF GEORGE FLOYD, BREONNA TAYLOR, AHMAUD ARBERY, SANDRA BLAND, KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN SR. AND COUNTLESS OTHERS

As are most, the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc. is motivated by this pivotal moment in the middle of a global health pandemic.  Incited by the despicable manner of George Floyd’s murdered, we are in awe of all the protests taking place in our nation and across the world during the pandemic to recognize #Black Lives Matter and it is our hope protest politics transform into a systematic dismantling and restructuring for substantive change.

There are no words to offer justice to the pain and anguish of racism and oppression. The knee on our collective neck is the structural racism that our country was built upon, it is persistent and pervasive in every aspect of our lives. We have lived with and taught our children unwritten survival protocols for generations.  We are afraid to simply go for a run, to drive, to sit in our homes and eat ice cream, or to even watch birds.

We also know that racism has taken every opportunity from us to feel like we can breathe without oppression in housing, education, health, and the criminal legal system. The public lynching of Black human beings takes our breath away and the constant structural racism is killing us slowly, leaving us gasping for air as we call out for real change through anti-racist policies.  What makes it hard to catch a breath is we know the system is not broken, for it was designed by white supremacist slave-owners, who kidnapped our ancestors and brought them to stolen Indigenous land to protect their interest and the system is working just as it was designed to do.

Given the WBWPC’s 44-year old history and commitment to racial equity, a statement condemning the deaths of Black human beings at the hand of government-sanctioned racism should come as no surprise, and in fact, should be expected. We’re an organization of black women and we work to claim power at state and local levels of government, so our voice is important and needed.

We are encouraged by the diversity of the protest crowds and encourage all to speak out: to speak out to others, to those of differing backgrounds, to White people.  We need to help others understand to be anti-racist is to sit and listen without defense or fragility to people of color with lived expertise.  To study and understand the racialized history of our country and to consistently and persistently speak and act loudly and boldly and be more than an ally, but a co-conspirator for our shared liberation.  We need to center the voices of our people and speak out consistently to fix the problems, not just when there is another Black person killed for all of the world to see.

We support House and Senate Democrats’ broad police reform bill, Justice in Policing Act released on Monday in hopes of turning the energy of the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests into concrete legal changes that could make it easier to prosecute police misconduct.  We are supportive of this bill as it would ban choke-holds and no-knock warrants and lynching would become a federal crime for the first time.  The bill would also place new limits on federal funding for local and state police, requiring bias training and the use of de-escalation tactics in order for grants to be approved. The bill would curtail the transfer of military weaponry to state and local police.

We also support and call on building consensus for…

  • Police violence cannot be addressed in a vacuum, it needs to be addressed in a broader sense and structure involving legislation at all levels of government.
  • A strengthening of the accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement.
  • Federal verified registry with an accessible public database for transparency of prior disciplinary records of police officers
  • Reallocation of police funding
  • Full voting rights restoration
  • False race-based 911 reports should be considered hate crimes
  • Create a Federal Cabinet Secretary of Human Rights
  • Create a mental health component of the 911 system, so police would not be first responders to certain mental health 911 calls
  • Citizen/Community majority complaint review boards
  • The prioritization of public education as a civil right

by Jewel F. Williams, President

#BlackLivesMatter #SayTheirNames #SayHerName

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