All lives matter
The “Black Lives Matter” peaceful protesters are being infiltrated by individuals that want to riot and destroy. Not enough is being done to prosecute these perpetrators. Additionally, any police officer, guard, or anyone that wounds or kills another person, of any color, without sufficient cause should be prosecuted to the extent of the law.
This movement is going too far. Calls are being made to defund police departments, take down or destroy all statues or flags or names that remind us of what has happened in the past. Books are being changed or thrown into the fire of this rebellion. Our leaders are caving in to demands.
We older people remember this story from the past with a huge loss of human life and destruction of personal property and monuments and starvation of many more. Are our minds to be numbed to these current actions? How will our future generations know what has gone before?
We need the statues, flags, names, and other evidence of the past as reminders of what brought us to today and what should not take us to tomorrow. We have over 300 million people in this country. We should not let the actions of a minute number of these people have a devastating effect on the rest of us.
No matter how hard we try, there will be incidents that are horrific and absolutely wrong and that should be dealt with in an appropriate manner as they happen. This is a fact, one we cannot completely eliminate and must live with without over-reacting. I wish we could all live as brothers and sisters and protect on another as such. All lives should be part of this scenario.
Making democracy work
This is the direction the League of Women Voters have been taking for the past two years. It is the focus of our work to register voters and educate voters regarding measures that affect our communities.
Now more than ever we need to step up and practice our right to vote. It is the way in which we can protect our rights that are outlined in the Constitution.
These past few weeks, people from all over this country exercised their First Amendment rights as they protested the killing of George Floyd and the countless other Black lives that have been taken at the hands of police. We saw peaceful demonstrators take to the streets demanding change. We have seen people of every race, religion, and ethnic background stand and kneel in solidarity with the Black community with the same message – Black Lives Matter.
We’ve also seen civil unrest in some places and, sadly, acts of police violence against protestors. We must not let those images derail the fight against systemic racial injustice and inequality. Speaking out is an important first step, but this moment requires more time than words – it requires us to change.
The League of Women Voters uses positions to help effect change that have been developed through study, discussion and majority vote. Our criminal justice position supports a criminal justice system that is just, effective, equitable, transparent and that fosters public trust at all stages, including policing practices, pre-trial procedures, sentencing, incarceration and re-entry and the elimination of systemic bias, including the disproportionate policing and incarceration for marginalized communities.
Also, policing practices that promote safety for both law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. Collaboration between government and community-based programs throughout every stage of the criminal justice system. A focus on humane treatment and rehabilitation with the goal of promoting the successful re-entry into California communities of those who have been incarcerated and lastly, reliance on evidence-based research in decision-making about law-enforcement programs and policies.
The League encourages all communities including Santa Maria Valley, to incorporate these same positions.
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