Our Demand Has Not Changed!
Dear Mayor Barrett and Common Council,
As the Common Council prepares to vote yet again on whether or not they’ll accept the federal COPS grant, we want to remind you all that our fight won’t change with a new year or a new administration. We know as long as there are police, police will harm oppressed communities, especially Black people. We also know the COPS grant won’t change the hearts of the police; they will continue in the coming days, weeks, months, and years before they’re completely abolished, to show up in our communities harassing and harming Black people.
Our demand has not changed. We believe that investing in programs that meet people’s needs like housing and public health is true safety, not continuing to fund police that harm us.
We want to remind you to not forget the hundreds of voices that testified during the last two budget cycles at the budget hearings who said they did not want the additional funds going to police. Residents said they wanted violence prevention that was not tied to policing, affordable housing, and jobs for youth.
If the Common Council’s excuse in their reconsideration to accept this funding is because there are some residents who say their neighborhoods need police because of much gun violence note Shani Buggs, a violence prevention researcher at the University of California, notes in The Trace article, A Historic Surge in Gun Violence Compounds the Traumas of 2020, who said, “but what we know is: When you look at communities that have low rates of gun violence, they don’t have police on every corner. They have stable homes and safe places for people to work and play. They have supportive options for youth. They have quality schools. When people’s needs are met, they are safer.”
We urge you, Mayor Barrett, and Common Council to focus their energies and ideas to support what we know will make our communities safer. Residents may not always articulate their need to be safe with access to their basic needs, but we all know that’s what people ultimately want and need.
The Common Council has the opportunity and an obligation to respond to our communities’ basic needs, and there is no way you all will do that by accepting the COPS grant. Don’t allow your vote tomorrow to be a part of the continued cycle of harming our communities. We hope the Common Council will hold the NO vote and reject this grant once and for all.
Alex Brower, community leader and resident of District 6
A. Drake, resident in District 4 All of Us or None
Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin (BHCW) Black Leaders Organizing Communities, BLOC Brandy Johnson, resident in District 6
Carlene Bechen, Fair Maps Organizer Cassandra Bowers, Board President,
African-American Roundtable (AART), resident of District 7 Comforce MKE
Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing Jobs That Help
Barbara Cerda, resident in District 14 Caressa Givens, resident of District 14
Deanna Moore, resident of District 3
dr monique liston, UBUNTU Research and Evaluation
Hmong American Women’s Association, Inc Elizabeth A. Parisi, resident in District 10
Kara Mannor, resident in District 3
|Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) Martha Collins, Board President
Nate Gilliam, resident in District 2
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom – Milwaukee Branch
Melody McCurtis, resident in District 15
Metcalfe Park Community Bridges Inc
The Milwaukee Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Milwaukee Freedom Fund
Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope, MICAH
Professor Jodi Melamed, Marquette University,.resident in District 3
Rick Banks, resident in District 6
Ryeshia Farmer, Milwaukee Campaign Leader and Organizer
Sebastian Daniel, Ayuda Mutua MKE, Browns Crew, resident in District 12
Stephanie Roades, resident in District
Waukesha Activists Working Families Party