FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY, JULY 8
CONTACT: Melissa Uribe
SEIU LOCAL 2015 PRESIDENT LAPHONZA BUTLER REACTS TO ALTON STERLING, PHILANDO CASTILE, AND POLICE KILLINGS
In light of the recent incidents of police brutality and police killings throughout the country, SEIU Local 2015 Provisional President and President of SEIU CA Laphonza Butler shared the following statement this morning via Facebook Live:
In light of the recent incidents of police brutality and police killings throughout the country, our President Laphonza Butler spoke out about what we can do as a country to address these issues and begin a healing process.
Posted by SEIU Local 2015 on Friday, July 8, 2016
I wanted to speak out today because of what Dr. King called the “fierce urgency of now”.
I want to briefly talk to you as a daughter of a black man. As a mother of a black 2 year old daughter. As a woman of color. And as an American who loves this country deeply.
The last couple of days have been difficult for those of us who believe in justice. The shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota are a national tragedy.
Both of these men were family men, fathers with children, working hard to earn a living, loved in their communities. My heart goes out to the families mourning for their love ones.
I can’t imagine the pain they must be going through watching their loved ones grasp for their last breathe over and over on our television sets and on our social media.
Alton & Philando are not just two hashtags. They are us and we are them. Add these names to the names of Michael Brown, Oscar Jr. Ramirez, Sandra Bland, Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, Oscar Diaz-Zeferino and the countless names we will never know. We will never see. They’ve lost their lives because we have a system that makes them guilty simply because of the color of their skin. A system that makes them guilty until proven innocent.
I know many of us are angry, frustrated, disappointed, and confused. It seems that every time we make progress we take a step back. But I want to challenge all of us today to channel our anger & frustration towards solutions. We must not respond to hate with hate, we must respond with love, compassion, and commitment to make things better. Love is the answer.
Every bit of progress we’ve made in this country has been because ordinary people have stood up to bring change in extraordinary ways. And now is our time, it’s our time to turn the tide, it is our time to work together to find solutions that will lift our communities and remind ourselves that as a nation we are better than what we’ve seen these past few days.
How many more moments of silence must we have, before things change?!
Now is the time to declare unabashedly that Black Lives Matter. Now is the time to come together as black, brown, red, yellow, white, and blue as one and declare that we will no longer sit on the sidelines in the face of injustice or tolerate violence and intolerance in any form.
The events that have transpired in the last couple of days are a wakeup call. A call to invest in community programs that focus on prevention instead of policing and criminalization. A call to build more schools and less prisons. A call to invest in treatment & prevention, not jails. A call for accountability. And a call to vote this November.
Add your voice.
And I end by reminding us of the call to action from one of the world’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela. He said, “Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great, you can be that generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy, but not to do this would be a crime against humanity.”
I ask all humanity to rise up.
Rise up America, be better. Our humanity requires it.