We oppose systemic racism against African Americans and all people of color.
The horrific scene of the senseless taking of a Black man’s life that we witnessed last week has been a wake-up call for America. George Floyd’s breath was snuffed out by the police in a manner completely devoid of humanity or justice. George Floyd’s murder was the final straw, following just days after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor by current or former U.S. police officers in different States. The harsh reality is that “liberty and justice” in America are not “for all”. The murder of Black people is merely one symptom of the deep inequalities in our society, which is plagued with systemic, structural choke-holds across the socioeconomic spectrum that debase Black lives. America has always treated Black people as inferior. America has had its foot on the necks of Black people for 400 years.
The protests following the death of George Floyd are an expression of the people’s righteous indignation about the country’s criminal justice system’s history of racist mistreatment of Black people. While Essex Rising does not condone the looting and violence being conducted by criminals and provocateurs, these protests express frustration, anger, and hurt pent up over many years. This is a wake up call for America to take action. We cannot as a nation keep responding to this as we have to school shootings — being outraged for a time but doing nothing to change to the system, its laws or policies.
How can we act?
VOTE to bring about real change this November and beyond! In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The most decisive steps that the [people] can take is that little walk to the voting booth.”
Fill out THE CENSUS to make sure that you are counted locally and your community is funded accordingly.
AFFIRM BLACK LIVES MATTER every way you can. SEE THIS LINK to some protests and events happening in Essex.
TRANSFORM YOUR OWN COMMUNITY: If you live in West Orange, fill out this SURVEY to address our Needs for a More Racially Inclusive Township, with a view to implementing improved policies. (If you live in a different town, consider a similar initiative.)
Consider running for office. If you have progressive values, contact us for support.
OTHER ACTIONS: We continually must press our legislators to pass meaningful laws that ensure racial justice, so that we never again hear another Black person say, “I can’t breathe”—whether it’s because an American cop is choking him or her to death or because American policies are throttling his or her freedom.
We, the Steering Committee of Essex Rising, stand in solidarity with those protesting racism. We recognize our responsibility to challenge racial injustice and social injustice. At this signal moment in our history, let us raise the voices of the unheard, address the needs of the suffering, and tend to the grief of the hurt. But let us not just stand. Let us activate, let’s bring into the fold the youth, the elderly, those in between, and all who feel marginalized or disenfranchised, and mobilize to ensure meaningful change. We invite you to stand with us. Our unity is our strength.