Lizzo, Jane Fonda, and Yara Shahidi Signed a Letter to Defund the Police
Following the mass worldwide protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by police, the collective Movement 4 Black Lives has circulated an online open letter calling for a decrease in police budgets and to increase spending on health care, education, and programs for Black communities. The letter has been signed by Lizzo, Jane Fonda, Yara Shahidi, and more.
"Black communities across the nation are mourning the deaths of George Floyd, tortured to death by Minneapolis police, Ahmaud Arbery, a jogger who was killed while running in a residential neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia, Breonna Taylor an EMT killed while asleep in her bed in Louisville, KY, Dreasjon Reed in Indianapolis and Tony McDade in Tallahassee," the letter reads. "Their names are added to a devastatingly long list of Black people who have been killed at the hands of vigilantes or law enforcement. Not to mention the others whose names we don’t yet know, and may never know since they were killed without a camera recording it."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the letter has also been signed by John Legend, Taraji P. Henson, Megan Rapinoe, and Natalie Portman.
After Floyd's death, there has been a renewed effort to hold police and law enforcement accountable and to help end police brutality, particularly against Black people. Reclaim the Block, a Minneapolis-based organization focused on reallocating the city’s money away from the police department and toward "community-led safety initiatives," has a petition asking city council to defund the police force to free up resources for marginalized communities.
"Black communities are living in persistent fear of being killed by state authorities like police, immigration agents or even white vigilantes who are emboldened by state actors," the letter reads, adding that the money spent on police and corrections could be diverted to communities.
"We join in solidarity with the freedom fighters in Minneapolis, Louisville, and across the United States. And we call for the end to police terror," the letter reads. "We call for defunding of police and for those dollars to be rerouted to create a public national healthcare system."
In addition to signing the open letter, you can demand your that local lawmaker move to cut spending on police forces and reallocate funds. New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles, for example, have begun initiatives to reallocate funds, and you can visit the websites linked to find lawmakers to contact, as well as sample scripts of what you might say.