JOINT STATEMENT BY WOMEN LEADERS OF 13 AFRICAN-AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS

As leaders of African-American women’s organizations in America, we condemn in the strongest terms the senseless and unjustified killings of Black women, Black men, Black girls, and Black boys by police and vigilantes. We have organized knowing that we are stronger and more effective when we work together to raise our more than five (5) million collective voices and exert our collective power to address the unspeakable, horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop and too many others – killings that have sparked a global movement for racial justice.

We stand united and join with Black communities across our country in an urgent demand for police reform now. Our national shame, which plays out on streets, in cars and even in the sanctity of homes that is resulting in the repugnant killings of African Americans, has reached a fever pitch that can no longer be tolerated. These latest killings, along with those we seldom hear about, have garnered national and international attention and share one common denominator — they demand justice. The trauma of these occurrences is exacerbated by the fact that the nation is in the grip of a horrific pandemic which has had a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other people of color living in poverty. Black, low-wage, essential workers, who risk their lives daily, have disproportionately contracted the COVID-19 virus and died, rendering the most vulnerable families’ recovery uncertain.

As African-American women leaders, we are committed to using the power of our collective voice, vote, leadership, and influence as we join the American people and citizens around the world to demand that the routine use of lethal force by law enforcement officers who are duty-bound to protect and serve comes to a swift end. Our #United4Reform alliance comes on the heels of global protests over the deaths of George Floyd and too many others at the hands of the police, because of the color of their skin or how they identify.

To achieve these goals, we present the following actions to our 5 million plus members and the broader community to hasten universal change as we continue to advocate and demand justice.

#United4Reform AGENDA ACTION ITEMS

  • Police Reform. We seek sweeping federal legislation regarding police reform mandating a zero-tolerance approach in prosecuting police officers who kill unarmed, non-violent, and non-resisting individuals during an arrest. The legislation should also:
    • De-certify or terminate police officers who use lethal force in non-violent offenses
    • Eliminate the use of choke holds in all forms
    • Create a national database registry to restrict re-hiring of law enforcement officers that were terminated with cause by other cities or states
    • Require all police officers to wear body cameras and terminate officers who intentionally turn off their cameras
    • Require de-escalation training and unconscious bias training for all police officers
    • Require psychological evaluation of police officers before hiring, and periodic evaluations while employed
    • Require a citizens’ review board to review and report police misconduct complaints
    • Mandate gun-violence prevention education and training
    • Push for the passage of hate crime statutes
  • Voter Engagement/Voter Mobilization/Voter Education.
    • We all must vote
    • We are urging everyone to double the local voter mobilization and participation efforts to vote, and elect the candidates who will most effectively advocate for our communities.
    • We have committed to have all of our 18 year olds registered to vote as soon as they are able to, per their respective state guidelines
    • Several of us have partnered with When We All Vote. We will use the strength of this partnership to increase our voter engagement efforts
  • Voter Legislation. Demand the Senate debate and vote of H.R.1 (For the People Act) that has passed the House of Representatives and would restore the Voting Rights Act and limit voter suppression
  • Census 2020 Participation. Complete the 2020 Census and encourage our families and communities to do the same
  • Engagement with Elected Officials. Contact local, state, and federal elected officials regarding any legislation that is harmful to African Americans and that does not provide equal protection under the law
  • Participate with the Poor People’s Campaign. Attend the virtual march on June, 20, 2020 at 10 a.m.
  • COVID-19 Relief. Advocate the passing of additional legislation that protects essential workers and healthcare professionals. COVID-19 has magnified the racial, ethnic and health disparities in the US
  • Domestic Violence Protection. Offer real protections for children and adults contending with family violence, therapeutic services for abuses as well as precaution
  • Mental Health Support. Implement community-based mental-health support services
  • Mentoring and the Protection of Our Children. Enhance and implement service programs that provide social, emotional and academic support to help children realize their worth to unleash their potential
  • Facilitate Courageous Conversations about Race and Racism. Engage in facilitated courageous conversations about race and racism in our communities

In Sisterhood and Solidarity,

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS:

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Glenda Glover, International President

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Beverly Evans Smith, National President and CEO

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Valerie Hollingsworth Baker, President

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

Deborah Catchings-Smith, International President and Board Chairman

The Links, Incorporated

Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, National President

National Council of Negro Women

Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Chair and President

National Coalition of 100 Black Women

Dr. Virginia Harris, President

Black Women's Agenda, Inc.

Gwainevere Catchings Hess, President

National CARES Mentoring Movement

Susan L. Taylor, Founder and CEO

The Girl Friends, Incorporated

Margaret Gaines Clark, National President

Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Danielle Brown, National President

Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc.

Sharon Beard, National President

Black Women's Roundtable

Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO

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