For Immediate Release Contact: Donald Gatlin, 202-587-2871
October 12, 2016 firstname.lastname@example.org
Racial Profiling an Attack on Our Democracy
Democracy Initiative Board Statement, which includes NAACP, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO Common Cause, demands action
WASHINGTON, DC – The board of directors of the Democracy Initiative released the following statement:
“The Democracy Initiative recognizes that the deaths of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina; Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the more than 700 people killed this year; and the 950 killed last year are all emblematic of a crisis in policing. As a coalition of pro-democracy institutions representing at least 30 million people and standing with many more allied organizations, we call on our elected officials – and every American who will be casting their vote on Election Day – to take on the issue of racial profiling as an attack on our democracy. A law enforcement practice that targets people by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity for separate and unequal suspicion, and often fatal treatment, fundamentally undermines our democracy. We demand accountability for the policies and practices that perpetuate profiling and target, marginalize and ultimately silence the voice of the people. Subjecting black lives, in particular, and communities of color, more generally, to profiling, is by definition anti-democratic.
We, as democracy advocates, call on all Americans to:
1. Use your power by voting. We encourage people to demand answers of candidates at every level – from city council to the President of the United States – about what they will do to protect our community members and our democracy. Keep the conversation alive on social media using hashtags like the NAACP’s millennial-focused hashtag #staywokeandvote, and hold our leaders accountable with your vote.
2. Call on all elected officials and law enforcement agencies to take concrete steps to ensure that equal justice is assured for all members of our communities. Elected officials and law enforcement agencies must seek to improve community policing, and work to secure meaningful engagement between the faith-based, community and law enforcement leaders who interact with communities on the ground every day.
3. Speak out by using social and traditional media to communicate the message that racial profiling is antithetical to our democracy.
4. Work with your community and with organizations that want to bring about an end to police misconduct, profiling and stop and frisk. Ensure that elected officials include the voices of the community, strengthen community relations, and maintain full transparency while ensuring due process. You can reach out to Democracy Initiative for more information about how to start.
Now is the time to raise our voice and demand change. As Americans, it is our responsibility to maximize our individual engagement in the democratic process to eradicate systemic discrimination. We must vote – and vote the entire ballot, from the President of the United States, to county sheriff. We cannot let our voices be silenced a single day longer.”
Democracy Initiative Board
Larry Cohen, Democracy Initiative Chair
Cornell William Brooks, NAACP President & CEO
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
Tefere Gebre, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President
Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President
Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA Executive Director
Wendy Fields, Executive Director Democracy Initiative
# # #
The Democracy Initiative is a dynamic network of organizations launched in 2013 working toward a bright future in which all Americans participate fully and freely in the democratic process. We believe that the voice of every citizen should be heard and counted, so all of us have an equal say in a democracy that is of, by, and for the people. Our endorsing organizations pursue a diverse range of progressive goals, including civil rights, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and climate justice, but we know that success in any of these areas depends on reforming our democracy.
United by a shared vision for a political process that counts every voice and every vote equally, we are mobilizing members of Democracy Initiative organizations to ensure that all Americans can vote, diminish the influence of corporate and special interests, and halt the obstruction that has thrown our Congress out of balance. Together, we can break down these barriers and protect our democracy from the systematic effort to shift power from the many to a wealthy few by silencing our voices in the workplace, in the ballot box, and in the offices of our elected officials.