“Videos that have surfaced surrounding the deaths of Alton and Philando are deeply disturbing and demonstrate the deep-rooted hate and racism that pervades our criminal justice system,” stated APALA National President Johanna Hester. “We can’t look at Delrawn, Alton, and Philando as another statistic. These men leave behind family, friends, and a community ignited to fight for justice.”
On July 4th in Brooklyn, Delrawn Shawn was shot by an off-duty cop following a road rage incident. On July 5th in Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling was killed after being pinned down to the ground by police officers. On July 6th in Falcon Heights, Philando Castile – a Teamster brother at Local 320 that represents the police in Minnesota as well – was shot during a police traffic stop.
This series of shootings follows last month’s acquittal of Baltimore Police Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr. and the acquittal of Officer Edward Nero in May for charges related to the death of Freddie Gray, who was detained and died from a spinal cord injury in 2015. The trial of Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer involved in Gray’s death, began yesterday, and APALA will continue to follow the case as it unfolds.
“Across the nation, where’s the justice? Where’s the accountability? Time and again, the deaths of Black men are not brought to justice, and murderers are allowed to continue to live their lives,” added Hester. “These kinds of injustices can no longer go without consequences. Our criminal justice system is in dire need of change – change that curbs the disproportionate mass criminalization of Black lives, immigrants and people of color.”
“Gray’s story of justice unfilled and the consecutive murders of young Black men by cops this week continue to show how our legal and criminal justice systems continue to fail and devalue black lives,” stated APALA Executive Director Gregory A. Cendana. “The peaceful protest gone wrong in Dallas last night is also upsetting and yet another symptom of the larger structural issues at hand.”
“We must address police violence head on and push for a more public dialogue with law enforcement in order to end the racism and racial bias we are seeing in front of our very eyes. We must be willing to call out what we know to be wrong—even if it might be unpopular. We cannot allow this moment to pass in silence,” called Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO.
“We must also stay grounded in love, community and family. We are in a state of emergency and our actions should reflect that. We all have our roles in working to end racism and this continued system of oppression, especially if you are white and identify as an ally,” reflected Cendana on what we, as a community, can do to combat police brutality and other institutionalized forms of racism.
Our hearts go out to Delrawn, Alton, and Philando and their families as we stand beside our Black brothers and sisters. APALA will continue to support the Movement for Black Lives and advocate for reforms and policies that promote racial, economic, and social justice for all communities of color.
Here’s how you can help fight police brutality, Anti-Blackness and other forms of oppression:
1. Join our National Call for AAPI Solidarity on July 11 to discuss your reactions and the role of the AAPI community. Please RSVP here to receive confirmation details with the call-in information: http://bit.ly/AAPI-Solidarity.
2. Donate to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
3. Learn more on how to combat Anti-Blackness: http://bit.ly/29wzMjJ.