#BLACKLIVESMATTER PSA: BLACK GREEK INFLUENCERS CALL FOR DIVINE NINE MEMBERS TO TAKE ACTION
The hearts and minds of RealZetas, Progressive Greek, DP Taught Me, Beyond This Place, Black Greeks Speak, and the Harbor Institute remain resolved and in solidarity with people of color who have experienced racial disparities in the criminal justice system, particularly among Blacks and Latino/as across this nation. Over the past week, we have witnessed the unlawful killing of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. We extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends. Both recorded and broadcast for the world to see what we have known for many years: Blacks and Latino/as are killed disproportionately by the hands of law enforcement. Conversely, a culture of protection is often afforded to them through a collective web that consists of local and state criminal justice systems, police unions, and police departments that impedes or prevents accountability for a fair and consistent administration of justice.
We recognize the complex history between communities of color and those charged with carrying out violence against us legally. We also understand that during the early civil rights movement Blacks and Latinos weren’t allowed to serve as officers, thereby setting the early stages for cultural disparities within the communities they police. Moreover, there is historical evidence, in certain police departments, of documented racists being specifically recruited to serve on the force. This created an environment, in these particular instances, and long standing culture that perpetuates and unfairly, either expressly or implicitly, protects law enforcement who do not protect, serve, and uphold the law. Enough is Enough. Our LIVES matter.
We demand targeted recruitment efforts to hire more members of law enforcement who uphold the rights bestowed on them by their badge to protect and serve every citizen regardless of the color of their skin or the width of their nose.
Our thoughts go out to the members of law enforcement who find themselves caught between the communities they live in and the badge they wear. We offer our condolences to the families of police officers who were killed in the line of duty while protecting our right to assemble. We realize you do not have it easy. We know that you can lose your livelihood for speaking out as easily as we lose our lives standing up, sitting down, raising our hands up or just being. We ask that you stand for right, hold your peers accountable and continue to do your job with integrity.
To the partners and children of those being murdered in cold blood every day in America; we have fallen short. We have reached a point when it becomes a requirement to collect video evidence against the killers of our loved ones. We failed to demand indictments and serve on juries to ensure police brutality was a treated as a crime and not an isolated incident. As Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor stated in her recently published dissent in the case of Utah v. Strieff, “We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere.” To you, we apologize and recommit ourselves to mobilizing and building effective coalitions to bring real change to our communities. We will use our influence for better outcomes. We will serve on juries and work tirelessly to ensure liberty and justice is more than an eloquent, yet hollow, statement found on the fraying pages of the Constitution, and actually exists among all citizens regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Our lives depend on it.
To the individuals who believe our communities are overreacting or that we should be silent, we challenge you to be quiet, listen and view the world through our lens. We have been ghettoized in Chicago, poisoned in Flint, and gentrified in Atlanta. We have faced every obstacle -legal and illegal- and we continue to press on. The violence you see, both in our communities and beyond, is a direct result of centuries of oppression and state-sanctioned denials of the rights every American citizenship often enforced through physical violence. We built this nation and we aren’t going anywhere. We will not walk in fear because we are free. We will continue to exercise our voice to challenge the societal ills that plague our country. Our VOICES matter.
Our Strategy and A Solution
Where do we go from here? We must come together to create tangible solutions by bringing law enforcement and communities of color together. We cannot continue to function in a “business as usual” pattern. Various members of National Pan-Hellenic Council, acting not on behalf of the organizations, but as individuals, are turning to social media to raise awareness on how we can work together to bring change. How can you help make a difference in your community? GET INVOLVED. The 2016 elections are in full swing, and YOU play a part in making a difference. There are federal, state, and local elections taking place across this nation for sheriffs, judges, District Attorneys, mayors, school board superintendents, and city council members. Get on the social media profiles of your state, city, county, or town and publicly ask local officials, candidates, and current leaders in your community what policies they plan to implement to prevent the extrajudicial murders of Blacks and Latino/as at the local level? Our ACTIONS matter.
We cannot make demands if we are not ready to rise and accept the challenge. While these are indeed trying times both physically and emotionally, it is imperative that we not act on pure passion and adrenaline alone, but that every action and strategy we employ be specific, achievable and have a direct line of accountability. We need YOU! Join us as we seek to bring solutions to the table for change. We invite you to share your action items by adding them to our community initiatives document. Together, we will keep each other informed and accountable about important dates for elections, community gatherings and events designed for social change, so that we may support each other’s causes. Additionally, we invite you to use this energy to create positive change through your own areas of expertise, creativity, and influence. Are you an attorney, judge, member of law enforcement, athlete, musician, writer, visual artist, filmmaker, etc.? Bring your skills and influence to the table so we can help promote your message and keep our communities well informed. Together, we pledge to educate, document, inspire, incite movement, and demand accountability through collective thoughts and actions. Collectively, we can make a difference. One community at a time. WE MATTER. Contact: RealZetas@gmail.com