The Impact Justice community joins people of conscience throughout the world in condemning racist police violence and the pervasive manifestations of systemic racism in our society, starkly laid bare by our criminal legal system. We have been deeply shaken by the most recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor; by the murder of Ahmaud Arbery; and by the deaths of so many Black people at the hands of white people throughout history, each death no less tragic or enraging than the last or the first on these shores hundreds of years ago. We remain committed to dismantling the systems of racist oppression and to challenge ourselves to be agents of that change. As an organization and as individuals, we pledge our unwavering support to our Black colleagues, friends, family members, and neighbors across the U.S. in their grief and outrage.
The state-sanctioned repression of and violence against protesters in Minneapolis, New York, Louisville, Oakland, Washington, DC, and elsewhere is not a new phenomenon. But it is just the latest example of an unconscionable exercise of weaponized power in defense of systems that have wrought generations of devastating harm to Black people in this country. Police are attacking protesters with tear gas, vehicles, bullets, and batons while they are mobilizing in response to the asphyxiation of a Black man by police, and doing so during a pandemic respiratory illness that is disproportionately killing Black people.
The U.S. systems of policing and imprisonment are tools of violence and racism descended directly from slavery. We join our voices with those calling for an urgent dismantling and defunding of these systems and practices that plague Black communities and degrade us as a society. We make this call with the recognition that the criminal legal system works in concert with other mechanisms of racist oppression and inequality that leave Black people more vulnerable in a health crisis and more vulnerable in an economic crisis.
Centuries of the brutalization of Black people by law enforcement that preceded the advent of the cell phone camera should have been enough to call us to action. We have decades of police violence against Black people captured on film. We don’t need more proof. We stand in solidarity with the demands to divest from policing and the carceral state, and with the generative movement to redirect that investment into communities hardest hit by race-driven policies of over-policing and criminalization. Our work commits us to building community resources that divert people away from criminal punishment and to mitigate the harm our punitive systems cause.
Among our organization’s values, we reiterate our commitment to liberation today. We recognize that a genuine commitment to liberation means understanding ourselves as part of greater movements to end individual, collective, and systemic oppression. The movements for liberation long precede any of us alive today. We strive to do our part today, with urgency, and in recognition of the unbearable horror, grief, loss, anger, and disappointment we must all have in our failure to retrieve the lives of so many lost to racist violence. Impact Justice’s commitment to liberation also means the imperative belief in a better future. There is a tremendous amount of work to do, and that work has to begin with the organization’s re-commitment to ensure the safety and well-being of our Black colleagues and the communities we work with, as we continue the daily investment toward building a more humane and restorative system of justice.