The violence in our country last week has shocked us all. Two African American men were killed by police officers, bringing the total of African American men in the US killed by the police since January 2015 to 175 (24 of those men were unarmed). Women of color are at disproportionate risk of police violence as well. Then, the shooting of police officers by a lone gunman in Dallas compounded the horror. We join Americans nationwide and President Obama in decrying these senseless killings and calling for a healing of divisions in the United States.
Green America is committed to a planet where all people are valued and treated equally. We are part of many movements and recognize that the sooner we build on our shared values and interconnectedness, the stronger we will all be. In the United States, advancement of social and environmental justice is tied to the success of movements that promote the rights of people of color, the LGBTQ community, and economically disadvantaged groups. We support these groups in their calls for justice and equality.
The Black Lives Matters movement has created awareness of racial disparities in the criminal justice system and has highlighted the environmental justice issues facing people of color as well. Black Lives Matter activists are bringing attention to the ways that institutional racism is still prevalent in the US, and the recent mass arrests of these activists nationwide is deeply troubling. Social protest movements are at the heart of advancing civil rights in the US, and peaceful protests should be allowed to flourish and, as a nation, we would do well to listen to the protesters instead of shutting them down.
The message of Black Lives Matter, and many other social justice movements nationwide, is clear and urgent: we cannot solve the problems facing our country, including gun violence, climate change, and our broken food system, unless we address our nation’s social and economic inequalities head on. Too many lives are lost in the US to violence and imprisonment. Too many people don’t have access to healthy foods or economic opportunity. All of our communities are threatened by climate change, and it is our poorest communities that are most impacted by the burning and extraction of fossil fuels.
We must all stand together with people who are disadvantaged and support equality and justice. We must work together to heal the divides in our society and recognize that we need to create solutions that lift up all Americans and allow everyone to realize their full potential. At Green America, we continue to join with the thousands of organizations and millions of people nationwide to work towards a nation and a world where we can all live our lives in dignity, where all communities are healthy, and where we all have enough to meet our needs.