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Wealthy celebrities like soccer star Megan Rapinoe, musicians John Legend and Lizzo, and left-wing activist and actress Jane Fonda have all signed an open letter demanding the “divestment from police.”
The letter was posted on DefendingBlackLives.org and titled, “A Letter to Demand Divestment from Police and an Investment in Black Communities.”
According to Rolling Stone, “The letter was released by activist Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives, a coalition of more than 100 black-rights organizations.”
Black Lives Matter is a radical anti-cop activist group. Its members have chanted for dead officers, and a 2016 lawsuit from the father of a slain Dallas officer accused the activist group of inciting the “war on police” that led to his son’s death.
“Black communities across the nation are mourning the deaths of George Floyd, tortured to death by Minneapolis police, Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger who was killed while running in a residential neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, Breonna Taylor an EMT killed while asleep in her bed in Louisville, KY, Dreasjon Reed in Indianapolis and Tony McDade in Tallahassee,” the letter starts. “Their names are added to a devastatingly long list of Black people who have been killed at the hands of vigilantes or law enforcement. Not to mention the others whose names we don’t yet know, and may never know since they were killed without a camera recording it.”
“The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other. The United States does not have a national healthcare system,” the open letter continues, though many nations with nationalized health care faired far worse with COVID than the U.S.
“Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too. Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets,” the letter states.
The activists then claim “Black communities are living in persistent fear of being killed by state authorities like police, immigration agents or even white vigilantes who are emboldened by state actors.”
“Despite continued profiling, harassment, terror and killing of Black communities, local and federal decision-makers continue to invest in the police, which leaves Black people vulnerable and our communities no safer,” the letter states.
Instead, the activists argue, the money should “go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future.”
“We join in solidarity with the freedom fighters in Minneapolis, Louisville, and across the United States,” the letter adds. “And we call for the end to police terror.”
The post ends by demanding local officials take a pledge to “Vote no on all increases to police budgets,” “Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets,” and “Vote yes to increase spending on health care, education and community programs that keep us safe.”
Last week, protests began popping up across the nation over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer had his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for over eight minutes during an arrest, as shown in viral video footage.
Things quickly turned ugly, however, with arson, looting, and violence spiking in places like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York City, Rochester, Richmond, and many other cities.
Since the incident, all four officers involved in the arrest have been fired, investigations from the FBI and state law enforcement have been opened, and, on Friday, the officer at the center of the incident was taken into custody. The other three officers have since been charged.
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