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Statement from ALIGN on George Floyd and Confronting Police Brutality

Nearly 30 years after the beating of Rodney King and five years after the death of Eric Garner,  there has been no end to the police violence that brutally and repeatedly takes the lives of so many Black people in our nation. 

George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd, Walter Scott, and too many more. We say their names as an affirmation that they were fathers, sisters, spouses, friends who were loved during their time on this earth. 

We hold in love and solidarity Black mothers, Black children, and Black families who continue to endure the deep pain inflicted by 400 years of racialized oppression. We will fight with you, until justice is served. But we understand that we must do more. We must directly confront the ugly institutions that uphold white supremacy and enable individuals like police officers to murder black people with impunity.

The path for justice in our city must involve passing the Safer New York Act to improve police accountability and transparency across New York State. This act includes repealing NYS Statute 50-a which shields police misconduct and failed police disciplinary processes from public view. You can take action by using ALIGN member Make the Road NY’s call tool to urge legislators to repeal 50-a

We are witnessing the impact of prioritizing policing over the well-being of black communities with the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has laid bare other forms of racial violence that are devastating black communities. Black and Latinx people comprise the majority of essential workers who are being underpaid, not adequately protected, and fired for raising concerns about health and safety. Air and water pollution that has been damaging the health of black communities compounds the effects of the already deadly virus. An underfunded and discriminatory healthcare system has led to the loss of thousands of black lives.

Furthermore, we cannot justify a police force that has violently cracked down on protesters expressing collective rage, frustration, and undeniable grief. We condemn the violent actions of the NYPD and demand accountability from the NYPD Commissioner and the Mayor for acts that amount to human rights abuses. The longer we wait for transformational change, the longer we risk another black life lost. 

ALIGN remains committed to following black leadership, especially the black women who rise and lead us despite the difficult challenges and the enormous trauma that is caused by a society that devalues black lives and black people’s contributions. Time and time again, they have nurtured our movements for change for generations. Their work continues to inspire us to do the work of dismantling anti-blackness within the practices of our own organization and centering the needs of black communities in our campaigns for worker and climate justice.

The time for change must be now. We call on all our allies in the movement and partners in our coalitions to join the movement to defend black lives and for racial justice. We encourage our allies to issue statements, join the calls to action, and to donate to black-led organizations and bail funds for arrested protesters. 

The ALIGN Team and Members