FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2016
Media Contact: Paula Ioanide 831-334-2006; Aislyn Colgan 831-295-2555
Ithaca SURJ to Demonstrate for Black, Native, Latinx Lives
Call for Demilitarization of Ithaca Police Department
Demands IPD divests from S.W.A.T.
Ithaca, NY-- On July 21, 2016, 5:30pm, the Ithaca chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) -- a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice -- will demonstrate at Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Commons to call for an immediate end to police violence against Black, Native, and Latinx people. Ithaca SURJ also calls for the immediate demilitarization of the Ithaca Police Department. We demand the abolishment of the S.W.A.T. Team and the dismantling of the S.W.A.T. truck as well as the use of flash-bang grenades and assault rifles, which are used to conduct raids for non-violent drug related warrants. S.W.A.T. raids have been consistently used to target and traumatize people of color and poor people in Ithaca. In some cases, S.W.A.T. raids have traumatized children of color. To our knowledge, S.W.A.T. has never been deployed on Cornell University’s campus, where high levels of drug consumption and trade take places with regularity.
Following the recent murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Delrawn Small nationally and past murders by IPD of Shawn Greenwood and Keith Shumway locally, white Ithacans have been moved to take action in resistance to police violence. Ithaca SURJ will not abide by local police tactics that use taxpayer dollars to dehumanize our brothers and sisters of color.
We see our action as complementary to, and not in competition with, the hard work that many community members of color and allies have been doing to stop systemic racism in Ithaca. We understand that the militarization of IPD fosters fear and distrust rather than building the positive relationships local activists have worked to achieve.
We’re calling for the transformation of policing in our community, so that Black, Native, and Latinx people are no longer tortured, brutalized and murdered by police. Love guides these thoughts and actions. Our love-driven politics does not permit us, as white people, to remain complicit in a policing system that routinely targets, harasses, and fatally kills innocent Black, Native, Latinx people. Our love-driven politics leads us to loudly and unequivocally declare “Not in our name!” We do not support police policies and practices that “shoot to kill” rather than de-escalate violence. We do not support police policies that target people of color and poor people to expand the New Jim Crow and the largest mass incarceration system in history. All critiques we make are made in a loving spirit that seeks community safety without the use of fear, weapons, militarized tactics, violence, or systemic racism.
We’re taking action in solidarity with Movement for Black Lives organizers, who have called for a national day of action this Thursday, and who are occupying, demonstrating, marching and chanting for a new future - a future in which they can be free. Free from state-sanctioned violence and oppression. Free to be themselves. We echo their call for #FreedomNow.”
Details for Thursday’s action are as follows:
Who: Ithaca SURJ
What: Local participation in national day of action calling for an end to police violence against people of color, in support of Movement for Black Lives #FreedomNow demonstrations
When: Thursday, July 21, 2016, 5:30pm
Where: Bernie Milton Pavillion, The Commons, Ithaca, NY 14850
Why: It is vital for White people to visibly and loudly demonstrate that we condemn the police violence that has become a daily reality for people of color. These actions are meant to not only hold our local police department and national policing organizations accountable for that violence, but also to call on police officers to condemn and work to end the murders of people of color.
Ithaca, NY 14850
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