We at the Urban League of Greater Atlanta join with diverse groups of people around the nation in, once again, grieving and calling for JUSTICE and an end to the epidemic of police shootings of unarmed black and brown people, most often men. This time, our hearts go out to the families and communities who recently lost their loved ones – Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota — in police-involved shootings.
We also stand in solidarity with the people of Dallas, Texas, in mourning the tragic deaths of five Dallas police officers on July 7. These recent, tragic killings have renewed calls at the local and national levels for an intense focus on police-community relations and the criminal justice system. As President Barack Obama said, this spate of gun violence – whether at the hands of police officers or from civilian perpetrators — is not a problem restricted to one race of people: It is an urgent American problem. Each of us must play a role in solving it.
As part of the national Urban League movement (see accompanying statements by National Urban League President Marc Morial by clicking links below), the ULGA has placed priority on saving lives and leveling the playing field for people of color. We do this through a variety of initiatives, including improving police-community relations, and we are proud to be in partnership with Atlanta-area public and private agencies to promote positive change.
Yet, as we all grapple with the sadness of these senseless deaths by the gun, it is important for us to keep our focus on the root of the problem: Fear and hatred.
Let us continue to work together toward the day when we embrace each other as brothers and sisters instead of looking at each other as enemies to be feared. Working together, we can open doors of opportunity for everyone and build the country we can all be proud of.