June 2020

Re: Murder of George Floyd, violence against Black, Indigenous, and other Persons of Color, and the need for systemic change.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu states: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Dedicated to working for peace in all its forms, and opposing violence in all its forms, we are compelled to cry out against the murder of George Floyd. We cry out against all prior and continuing acts of violence toward Blacks and other persons of color. We strive to be anti-racist and to educate ourselves and others in alliance with organizations such as One Struggle KC and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

We are in a crisis that we must face and remedy. The core principles on which our nation was founded, LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL, are at stake. The core values of our faiths and ethics are at stake. When will we act with compassion to all peoples? When will we take the corrective actions necessary to overcome this and other crises?

We stand by and next to all Black, Indigenous, and other Persons of Color who seek their liberation from oppression and inequality. We applaud the reform measures taken by Mayor Quinton Lucas, the Board of Police Commissioners and City Government. Yes, if we want peace, then we must have justice and equality for all.

We support the “#8 Can’t Wait” principles, demanding of police departments:

Ban chokeholds and strangleholds,

Require de-escalation,

Require warning before shooting,

Exhaust all other means before shooting,

Duty to intervene (by other officers),

Ban shooting at moving vehicles,

Require use of force continuum, and

Require comprehensive reporting.

In addition, we support the use of body cameras for all officers on duty and the allocation of more money for intervention by mental health professionals, social workers, and community intervention services. We support dramatic de-funding of militarized police equipment and actions, and call for “community police” training to return to the keeping of the peace. Further, efforts for societal transformation must include education, housing, jobs, and health care reform.

Sincerely in Peace,

THE PEACEWORKS, KANSAS CITY, BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Co-Chairs Sunny Jordan Hamrick, Cris Mann, Henry Stoever (913-375-0045)