The past week weighs heavily on hearts. We mourn the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Sean Reed. We mourn the deaths of loved ones lost to COVID-19, that has had a disproportionate impact on our Black and Brown communities. Our collective grief is fueled by the knowledge that these deaths come at the hands of a system of white supremacy that has historically and by design threatened the safety and humanity of Black lives.
Philadelphia, like many cities across our country, struggles with ongoing police brutality in our Black, Brown, immigrant and poor communities. Our city continues to struggle with an epidemic of mass incarceration and egregious racial disparities in who gets locked up and who doesn’t. This targeting has persisted in the face of a global pandemic, while those who are behind bars are at risk of contracting COVID-19 due to an inability to practice social distancing. Furthermore, decades of disinvestment in our communities has threatened our health and well-being, while funding to police has increased.
As we rise up against police brutality and violence, we demand real accountability of the police. We demand a Police Advisory Commission with real power to investigate and censure police abuse in our communities. We demand a city budget that invests in our communities, instead of cutting services while increasing funds to the police. We demand non-police, restorative solutions instead of the criminalization of poverty and Blackness. We demand an end to mass incarceration and the targeting of Black and Brown communities.
We must continue to mobilize and organize. We must amplify our actions and demands for the changes we wish to see. Our movement must value the humanity and dignity of Black lives. The system of white supremacy that this country was built upon must be uprooted and dismantled. Our dissent will not be silenced. Our voices will be heard.
We speak the names George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Sean Reed, so that the weight of their lives can be a force for radical transformation.