Letter to the editor: Murder of George Floyd should inspire people to act
We are deeply saddened and enraged by the murder of George Floyd and other recent killings of Black Americans, and the ongoing illness of violence and oppression toward people of color that these deaths represent. This has gone on for far too long, and it must end now.
Extinction Rebellion Champlain Valley stands in solidarity with those who have lost their lives and the families who have lost loved ones, and with the greater Black Lives Matter movement. We see you, we hear you, and we support you.
It is time we collectively acknowledge the foundation of theft and oppression upon which our society is built and continues to exist today, so that we may work toward dismantling it. We are living on stolen lands, profit off of stolen labor, and sacrifice the well-being of communities of color so that the powerful can retain their wealth and control. We are complicit in this oppression when we accept the status quo and remain silent about these injustices. Silence normalizes abuse, allowing overt violence toward people of color to continue.
XR Champlain Valley vows not to remain neutral in situations of injustice. We are committed to pushing back against the entrenched power dynamics and structures of racism inherent in our society, and holding accountable those who engage in violence toward others based on the color of their skin. We are committed to amplifying the voices of people of color and supporting the fight for systemic change.
As a group whose pursuit is environmental justice, we recognize that racial justice is at the forefront of that effort. Our extraction-fueled, profit-driven society is built upon the oppression of the Earth and, by the same token, entire groups of people. Fossil fuel infrastructure, toxic waste dumps, and more are usually located within low-income communities and communities of color, disproportionately affecting their health and cutting their lives short. These communities routinely suffer the most from polluted land, air, and water, and make up the vast majority of those on the frontlines of the ecological and climate crisis, despite doing the least to contribute to the destruction themselves. Our extractive society is sacrificing them for short-term profit. This must stop.
We are not separate from one another. We can only move toward a healthy and peaceful world if we insist on true equity for all people and beings. Thus, our ecological emergency cannot be properly addressed without undoing the systemic exploitation of the most vulnerable.
So, we ask you to use your voice to speak up for justice by contacting:
• Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman at 612-348-5550 or [email protected].
• Minneapolis Police Department at [email protected]
• Mayor Jacob Frey at 612-673-2100 or through the form at bit.ly/ContactFrey.
Urge them to prosecute all four officers involved in the murder of George Floyd. Ask them what they plan to do to prevent this from ever happening again.
You can also take a stand against police violence, help the cause of racial justice, and support the greater Black Lives Matter movement by taking one or more of the actions below:
Donate to Black Lives Matter
Donate to a bail fund. Twitter users are crowd-sourcing lists of organizations that help bail out protesters who get arrested. Or find one on this crowd-sourced Google Doc of bail funds.
Join Middlebury’s chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).
Become a member of Rutland Area NAACP.
Support the National Police Accountability Project: This group, a project of the National Lawyers Guild, helps people find legal counsel.
Support Campaign Zero, a police reform group that has been working on policy solutions informed by data and human rights principles.
Join Ilhan Omar, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley in their fundraising to support Minnesota racial justice groups.
Sign a petition: Civil rights group Color of Change launched a petition asking that all the officers involved in Floyd’s death are brought to justice at tinyurl.com/George-Floyd-Justice. The “Justice for George Floyd” petition on Change.org already has 8.5 million supporters. Sign at tinyurl.com/JusticeGF.
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