As we approach the 5th year anniversary of the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer and the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLM), we find ourselves wrestling with some of the same issues we were facing five years ago: racial profiling, inequality, and discrimination. We remain committed to highlighting, exposing and educating the U.S. Congress and the American people about the unjust treatment Black people continue to face in the United States and abroad.
BLM recently reviewed H.R. 5698, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 that the United States Congress passed. This bill creates a new statute in Title 18, United States Code, to allow for heightened federal prosecution of defendants who knowingly assault a law enforcement officer causing serious bodily injury. The Protect and Serve Act of 2018 gives more protection to law enforcement. As noted in the Coalition Letter sent to Congress by civil rights, civil liberties, and faith-based organizations, “Police already have substantial protections under federal and state law, rendering this bill superfluous…the bill signals that there is a “war on police,” which is not only untrue, but an unhelpful and dangerous narrative to uplift.”
We call on Congress to affirmatively support a bill that will protect all Black, Brown and Queer and Trans people who are being assaulted and profiled in cities and locales across the country. We call on Congress to enact a bill in conjunction with the Protect & Serve Act that defends our community, our rights and our values. Black Lives Matter Global Network and our local chapters are working closely with our communities to expose bias and unjust treatment Black people face while at the same time, working to keep our communities safe by re imagining public safety – a world where mass criminalization is not the norm. We reject any notion that this bill or any future bills should be called “Blue Lives Matter” on a local, state or national level. It creates a false parallel between this bill and the larger Movement for Black Lives.
The BLM Network applauds those members of Congress, especially the Black women, who voted against this bill and the Civil and Human Rights community who came out strongly against this bill. For those members of Congress who voted for this bill, we call on you to take a stand in support of communities of color who are being systematically assaulted and discriminated against by the very people who are sworn to protect and serve.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network is an organizing network of over 40 chapters across the world, and works to end violence against Black people that is sanctioned by the state. By combating and countering acts of violence and creating space for Black imagination and innovation, we are building power and winning immediate improvements in our lives. For more information, please visit www.blacklivesmatter.com