Bend the Arc:CU Statement on the Murder of George Floyd

The Champaign-Urbana Chapter of Bend the Arc Jewish Action condemns the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers on May 25.  We are heartbroken and deeply frustrated that demands to reduce police violence and killings of citizens over the last five years has not lead to change, and where in the United States, black people are three times as likely to be killed by police as white people1.   We are horrified at the prosecutorial immunity police have enjoyed for decades when violating citizen’s civil rights.2

The killing of George Floyd has gripped the attention of our nation and our Jewish community in the midst of a pandemic that has put a fine point on existing and widening social and economic disparities, systematic racial discrimination and racial inequality.

Six years since Eric Garner gasped his last breath after being put in a chokehold in New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.; Laquan McDonald in Chicago; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland were all shot to death by police, we have seen no meaningful reductions to police killing of unarmed black citizens including children.  

Bend the Arc: CU sees this violence, witnesses the pain felt by families torn apart, and stands in solidarity with those who are oppressed.

We demand an end to the terrorism perpetrated by police in black and brown communities. 

We call on Champaign and Urbana to commit to reduce racial profiling and violence by police against unarmed citizens locally.  The City of Urbana and Urbana Police Department must adopt and carry out the Illinois Chapter of the NAACP shared principles between law enforcement and communities they serve3.

We require our white neighbors to learn with compassionate ears about the history of racism and white nationalism in our country, observe how systems of oppression exist today, listen to the stories of black and brown people in our community – and then speak up to end all oppression. 

Bend the Arc:Champaign-Urbana is dedicated and committed to building a multiracial society where all can thrive, regardless of their skin color, religion, gender, place of birth or sexual orientation

Sincerely,

Bend The Arc Jewish Action:Champaign-Urbana

______________________

[1] “Black people are the most likely to be killed by police” https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/.

2 “Police officers don’t face justice more often for a variety of reasons — from powerful police unions to the blue wall of silence to cowardly prosecutors to reluctant juries. But it is the Supreme Court that has enabled a culture of violence and abuse by eviscerating a vital civil rights law to provide police officers what, in practice, is nearly limitless immunity from prosecution for actions taken while on the job. The badge has become a get-out-of-jail-free card in far too many instances. In 1967, the same year the police chief of Miami coined the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” to threaten civil rights demonstrators, the Supreme Court first articulated a notion of “qualified immunity. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/Minneapolis-police-George-Floyd.html

3The City of Champaign has joined with chiefs from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police to announce a bridging building agreement on 10 principles regarding the relationship between law enforcement and the communities and people they serve in Illinois.  https://champaignil.gov/police/about-us/iacp-and-naacp-shared-principles-agreement/; https://www.ilchiefs.org/shared-principles