The time is now – we must divest from police, and invest in communities

Honestly – we are all feeling tired and heavy.

Today, we honor and mourn the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed and other countless Black lives we have lost to racist police violence and murder. We say their names, raise our voices to condemn state sanctioned murder, and we join with a movement calling for justice.

While the immediate arrest, indictment, and conviction of all police officers involved in these killings is a key first step towards accountability, we know this is not justice. Justice will require a radical re-imagining of safety – led by communities. It will require dismantling the institutions that target and harm Black people. It will require a complete divestment from systems of oppression and a concerted investment of real dollars and real support into marginalized communities. Justice will require reclaiming community decision making power. 

PBP remains committed to our partners and communities in calling for the dismantling of police, prisons, and jails. We demand community power in budget decisions. We demand real steps towards justice.

While we face a global pandemic and nationwide economic uncertainty, police budgets just keep growing. We have watched the impact of budget decision-making processes play out before our eyes – as health care workers and city employees deemed essential go without PPE and police forces show up to protests with militarized equipment.

This is not OK. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Our team stands in solidarity alongside the thousands of protestors demanding justice, the local community leaders driving this movement forward, and Black community members across the country who are enduring repeated trauma in this moment. We fight for a world where people who are currently criminalized, marginalized, and ignored by those in power can lead spending and policy decisions. We believe that when people closest to the issues can directly define safety, identify solutions, and implement change – communities can thrive. For us, this means strategizing and building better tools for using participatory budgeting to accelerate community centered safety, investments, and priorities.

We encourage our friends, family, and community to lift up the list of demands and follow the calls to action from leaders in this movement including The Movement for Black Lives Week of Action In Defense of Black Lives. Each day this week, M4BL has put out a demand to defend Black lives as well as a call to take action. Today is all self-determination and self governance – demanding community control over the budgets, policies, and decisions that impact us all.

If you are able, we also ask you to join us in supporting your local community bail fund or mutual aid fund to support protestors on the ground.

We see you, and we will never stop fighting alongside you. We commit to working in the service of our collective liberation, which is dependent on the liberation of all historically marginalized communities, whose needs have long been ignored, and whose voices are vital to the future of our democracy.

Here are some resources we have to offer – collaborative report and a virtual conversation about community control.

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