Mourn AND Fight!

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Dear Sisters,

The past few weeks have been especially HARD. I’ve been an emotional mess—enraged one moment and deeply sad the next–about the continuing persecution of Black people. My close circle of WE CAN friends and allies and my sister-friends who hold me up when I’m feeling down echo my emotions. We have collectively had enough. They asked me to share what actions YOU can take to fight against the ongoing attacks against our sons and daughters.

We cannot let our sadness and anger overtake us. The folks leading the systems that continue to harm us want us so overwhelmed that we can’t act. So defeated that we can’t see that our activism, applied steadily over time, will make a difference. So sad that we cry a river of tears and get lost in our collective grief.

Let us hold fast to the words spoken by Amanda Gorman in her powerful poem The Hill We Climb.

“We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:

That even as we grieved, we grew

That even as we hurt, we hoped

That even as we tired, we tried

That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat

but because we will never again sow division.”

Excerpted from The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

We have no choice but to mourn the death of Black, Latinx, Native American, and Asian Pacific Islander people at the hands of corrupt police. We cannot turn off the real fear that it could be our father/mother, son/daughter, brother/sister, nephew/niece, cousin, or other family member gunned down or beaten to death. We fear that if police brutality darkens our door, the case will generate national attention, giving small hope that there will at least be a thorough investigation. Our fears are real as our opportunities for action.

Today, WE CAN invites you to do three things to stop the scourge of police brutality in our nation.

President Joe Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, signs H.R. 1319, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” Thursday, March 11, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz). Original public domain image from Flickr

Contact The White House

Contact the White House and tell the Biden Administration you want a Presidential Commission for Citizen Oversight and Police Accountability. President Biden has already established a Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States—another system in our government that is operating outside the will of the American people (e.g., overturning Roe v. Wade despite nearly 70% of Americans stating that abortion should be legal in the United States). A Presidential Commission for Citizen Oversight and Police Accountability could study and help put in place National standards for how each case of police misconduct is investigated and hopefully fairly prosecuted.

In the box at the bottom of the form, tell the President that you expect him to make good on his promise during the State of the Union speech for something good to come of Tyre Nichol’s death. Because, as you said, Mr. President, “…when police officers or departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable.”

Source: Ted Eytan, The National Police Accountability Project

Contact Your U.S. Congresspersons

Write your members of the U.S. House of Representatives and DEMAND that they re-introduce the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. WE CAN detailed what this important legislation would provide, including holding police accountable for their actions central in the bill. The current U.S. House of Representatives has shown little appetite for advancing legislation that will actually help solve America’s most pressing problems. Sisters, raise your voices and let them know you expect them to act to prevent another senseless death at the hands of corrupt police. The time for half-measures and more thoughts and prayers is passed. The time for reform and ‘training’ that tinkers around the edges and fails to address the deep seeded racism that seems endemic in police departments nationwide. Enough IS enough!

Source: Ted Eytan, The National Police Accountability Project

Check To See If Your Community Has Citizen Oversight

Check to see if there is a citizen-led police accountability board or commission in your community. The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, which exists to build public trust through law enforcement accountability and transparency, has compiled a list. Before you open it, let me tell you that we need to help them expand the number of cities where citizen oversight is in place!

If there is a civilian oversight board in your community, immediately contact them and let them know that you would like to be informed about their work in your community. Put the agency front and center to ensure their decisions don’t get past you! Subscribe to their website, follow the agency on social media, bookmark any hearing or public meeting dates in your calendar and watch online.

Our grief cannot paralyze us. Our mourning cannot overtake us. If we want to prevent more tragedies, we must learn how our systems work, put ourselves in the mix of how agencies and systems work; and make sure our legislators create policies that fix systemic oppression we have suffered far too long.

The path to change is long and difficult, but as women of color, WE CAN create the changes we need in our communities and our country-one step at a time!

March 24, 2023 – 7:00 – 8:30 PM ET

Racially Charged: America’s Misdemeanor Problem

Every year, 13 million people are charged with misdemeanors, and while these charges may seem small, they are anything but. Join WE CAN as we screen and discuss “Racially Charged,” a @bravenewfilms documentary, a must-watch for anyone who wants to end mass incarceration for good.

In solidarity,

Stephanie McGencey, WE CAN Founder