America’s heart is breaking, and white people’s eyes are opening to the brutal racism that has ended uncounted numbers of African American lives, not only in the recent past but since Africans were first brought to this country as enslaved people.
Using the momentum of grief and outrage over our fellow citizens killed in cold blood with near impunity, we can insist on equitable law enforcement practices, informed by a vision of order and safety rooted in community, cooperation and neighborly love. Most of the action to transform law enforcement must take place at the state, county, city and town levels. To mend the broken American policing system, federal legislation is urgently needed as well.
Ask Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis to co-sponsor the End Racial Profiling Act (SB 2355), banning federal, state, local or tribal law enforcement agencies from profiling by race, ethnicity or religion to influence stops, searches and immigration proceedings. Ask Rep. Patrick McHenry to co-sponsor the Eric Garner Excessive Force Prevention Act (HR 4408), making it illegal for police to use any hold or grip that blocks the windpipe or throat; the PEACE Act (HR 4359), establishing a national standard to prevent police officers from using lethal force unless nonlethal methods have been exhausted; the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act (HR 1714), stopping the flow of military hardware into civilian law enforcement agencies.
As Quakers, we recommend looking to the Friends Committee on National Legislation [avl.mx/7b1] in Washington, D.C., for guidance regarding pertinent bills currently in the U.S. Congress deserving nonpartisan support.
— Beth Keiser
Peace & Social Concerns Committee
Swannanoa Valley Friends Meeting