New York, NY—This week, another two black people were victims of extrajudicial shootings by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and St. Paul, Minnesota. The videos are disturbing, and have gained national attention and calls for federal investigations into their deaths. According to the Guardian, 569 people have been killed by police across the United States in 2016. African Americans—especially young Black men—are disproportionately the target of police violence. Yesterday, we were heartbroken to learn that a gunman shot 12 police officers and 2 civilians during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, TX, leaving 5 officers dead.
In light of the ongoing struggle between communities of color and police violence, WE ACT for Environmental Justice Executive Director, Peggy Shepard, has released the following statement:
“We know that place and race matters—that your ZIP code or the color of your skin often determines your health status or whether you feel safe in your community, without the burden of police brutality. The same racist system that has generated vast numbers of low-income, people of color who can’t breathe from environmental exposures to pollution, has also created a criminal justice system that makes it hard to breathe in light of police violence. WE ACT believes that a healthy community means all residents should be able to breathe clean air, drink clean water and live without violence. We stand with groups, like Black Lives Matter, and continue to call for dignity, justice, and respect in our communities – and an end to ALL violence.”