Statement on the Taking of Black Lives
Recent events during the time of pandemic point to a systemic failure to recognize the inherent worth of people of color, low-income people and members of other marginalized communities. The recent extrajudicial killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, only the most recent in a long series of such heinous events, the callous disregard of the health and safety of low-wage workers compelled to perform “essential” services without adequate protection, the acceptance of housing low-income people of color in badly maintained high density housing with inadequate medical services, the failure to adequately address the health, nutrition and educational needs of all Americans, the weaponization of law enforcement against people of color merely living their lives, all of these may appear to be separate issues. In fact, they are symptoms of a greater problem, a problem of fundamental lack of access to justice and opportunity and a failure to recognize the fundamental dignity of all people, particularly people of color, and particularly for the black, brown and native people who have suffered the greatest historic deprivations. Although the extent of the problem has become sickeningly clear with the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, it is by no means a new one and has, in fact, always been present and hiding in plain sight.
The National Center for Law and Economic Justice has been fighting for nearly sixty years on behalf of low income people, communities of color and people with disabilities. We have stepped up that effort in recognition of the extreme challenges presented by COVID-19. Although we have always and will continue to fight to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable communities, we recognize that a long term solution requires a careful examination of the systemic causes of inequality and a commitment to addressing unjust systems. With other organizations and individuals fighting for justice, we condemn the many manifestations of discrimination and unequal treatment and call for a meaningful and long-overdue overhaul to the structures that give rise to injustice and inequality.
Thank you for your continued support of justice in America,
Dennis D. Parker
NCLEJ Executive Director