Campaign spotlight: Cities rally to #DefundThePolice
All over the world, people of good conscience are coming together to demand respect for Black lives and an end to the systemic racism and institutionalized oppression faced by Black communities. Time and time again, we have witnessed the horrors of this system, through the brutal police murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and too many others.
Enough is enough.
Black Lives Matter Protest in Washington D.C. on June 6, 2020. (Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash)
The violence against and murders of Black people at the hands of those tasked to “serve and protect” reveals a system rooted deeply in anti-Black racism and white supremacy. The worldwide protests calling for justice for victims of this system, like Ahmaud Arbery and Brianna Hill, have resulted in actions in more than 3,100 cities across the globe, at least $60 million donated in the first three days alone, and growing demands for a systemic overhaul that would defund police and prisons, and invest in Black and Brown communities.
How are communities around the world building support to #DefundThePolice?
✊🏿 Portland, Oregon
Unite Oregon, a non-profit organization representing more than 13,000 supporters and members across the state of Oregon, joined forces with the Portland African American Leadership Forum in calling to defund the Portland Police Bureau.
Their one-click emailing action makes it easy for supporters to contact members of Portland’s City Council to demand they defund local police, reinvest in Black futures, and protect their communities from violence. (Tip: When crafting a letter to decision-makers, be as specific as possible and provide clear action items! The email included in this Unite Oregon action is a great example.)
So far, more than 33,300 emails have been sent to Portland City Council. This overwhelming response, along with growing demonstrations in the city and the resignation of Portland’s police chief, is evidence that momentum is building in the fight to defund parts of the Portland Police Bureau.
Send your message to Portland’s city council now ⬇️ https://www.uniteoregon.org/defund_ppb_special_units/
Whoa. Press release from @UniteOregon & Portland African American Leadership Forum excoriates the city for today's police leadership change: "We will not accept a mere cosmetic change that reformulates policing by another name. We demand the full abolition of police and prisons." pic.twitter.com/476e45oyZv— Alex Zielinski (@alex_zee) June 9, 2020
✊🏿 Phoenix, Arizona
Poder in Action, a nonprofit organization located in Phoenix dedicated to fighting injustice in the immigration, criminal justice, and education systems, is also calling to #DefundPolice.
“Phoenix Police have terrorized our communities for too long. They are killing us. They are tearing our families apart” is the heart-wrenching opening cry on their action page, which uses one-click emailing to target Phoenix City Council. (This action is currently offline.)
More than 6,000 emails have already been sent, calling on council to defund the Phoenix Police Department, which in 2018 was the deadliest department in the United States. On June 8, City Council passed its annual budget, which included $3 million for a police oversight board. The day after, the Phoenix Police Department also announced it was suspending the training and use of the “carotid control” technique – a type of chokehold – by officers.
Send your message to decision-makers in Phoenix now ⬇️ https://www.poderinaction.org/defund-the-police/
Civilian oversight of PHX PD was fully funded today because the community organized and pressured the council to make it happen! This is a win but we need more. Our community must keep organizing, strategizing and fighting to #defundpolice ! @MayorGallego— Poder in Action (@PoderinAction) June 8, 2020
✊🏿 Boston, Massachusetts
The Youth Justice & Power Union, a youth-led organization for and by people of colour, launched a petition targeting Boston decision-makers.
The petition page is powerfully written and outlines clear demands (e.g., calling on Mayor Marty Walsh to cut the police budget by 10%, etc.), and gives action-takers the option of adding their own personalized message on top of the petition asks.
More than 2,200 people have signed the petition, and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations continue to build momentum in the city. On June 12, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis and proposed to City Council that 20% of the police overtime budget be reallocated to community programs.
Send your message to decision-makers in Boston now ⬇️ https://www.yjpu.org/petition
NEW: Boston #BlackLivesMattters protest. The movement is building more momentum. There have been several protests all over the world today!— Habiba Choudhury #BLM 🌹✌🏽 (@PeopleMvmt) June 11, 2020
This is not over. MSM is covering less and less of what’s going on. Don’t be fooled!
The Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP), an organization working to build safer communities without prisons, has launched an email tool that anyone in Canada can use to message their city councillors. All you have to do is plug in your postal code, and the action will automatically find your councillor and send them your demands to defund the police in your community.
(The email sent to councillors through this action is also well-worth a read.)
In just two days, the action has enabled more than 1,700 people to send messages to their city councillors. These messages are being sent to city councils right across the country, with momentum growing every day.
Send your message to your city councillor now ➡️ https://cp-ep.org/defundpolice/
this is a handy tool from @CPEPgroup that makes it so easy to email your councillor about defunding the police that how could you NOT do this right now? it takes approximately 30 seconds. go go go! https://t.co/2ZUJy62lBe #DefundThePolice— Katie Needs (@katieneeds) June 12, 2020
✊🏿 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Black Lives Matter Edmonton and Area Chapter has put together its own community-specific action, which targets Mayor Iveson and city councillors to demand they invest in community and divest from policing.
The group has put together a number of thoughtful and critical next steps for city councillors to follow in its letter, including a long list of community organizations that could make better, safer use of funds than policing (which is the second highest line item in the city’s budget).
This action has already seen nearly 11,000 messages sent to Edmonton decision-makers, with a 63% conversion rate! Edmonton City Council has requested a report about models that could redirect funds from police to community programs, and there are discussions on freezing police funding.
Send your message to Mayor Iveson and your city councillor now ⬇️ https://www.blmyeg.com/news/defund-eps-letter-template
Everything you wanted to know about defunding the police but were afraid to ask. Our latest pod with @Reakash and @otipemsiw is on the question everyone is talking about – divesting from cops and investing in community. #yegcc #yyccc https://t.co/qTi2jtQiXN— Progress Alberta (@ProgressAlberta) June 9, 2020
More actions are being launched in different cities every day. For a complete list of New/Mode-powered actions related to racial justice and the dismantling of white supremacy, click here. You can also find additional petitions and ways to help here: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/