The Los Angeles Urban League stands shoulder to shoulder with the protests fueled by the ruthless murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, and of Ahmaud Arbery protected by the complicit eyes of justice. These protests deserve full-throated respect from our leaders and well-meaning citizens. The people are rightfully angry, and the core message simply is this: honor life and treat all people justly, humanely, and with dignity.
We urge restraint by law enforcement and demand that they emphasize their fundamental responsibility to protect and serve our communities. That service includes protecting the rights of aggrieved citizens to protest peacefully, and fully investigating and prosecuting all who seek to exploit this pain by instigating acts of mayhem that undermine the peaceful goals of that protest.
These ruthless murders remind us that the vestiges of Jim Crow laws still exist in law enforcement agencies throughout the United States—including Los Angeles. We demand that the City and County of Los Angeles immediately convene a law enforcement improvement task force that focuses on just, fair and decent police tactics, accountability, discipline, recruitment, and training protocols throughout Los Angeles County.
While these initial steps are important, much more needs to be done to care for the bodies and souls of Los Angeles. Our political leaders need to be bold enough to listen, be empathetic, and creative even in the face of dire economic distress.
We grieve with families of victims who have been wrongly taken and who suffer the additional pain of justice denied by the very people are charged with the obligation to serve and protect. While we are weary from the many decades of grief experienced due to police brutality and racial injustice, we will never retreat from holding our public servants accountable to serve the people now and every day.
But we cannot depend solely on the power of demonstrations and tasks forces. We must also ensure that we are counted in the 2020 census that is currently under way. In addition, we must register to vote and ensure that our votes are counted in the upcoming elections. Remember MAKE BLACK COUNT.