FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–June 3, 2020

Power Coalition for Equity and Justice Calls for Reflection, Action & Systemic Change

Now is the time for us to ask each other and ourselves difficult questions, and to explore the answers to those questions honestly. But we also have to turn those reflections into action to change the systems that have marginalized people for centuries.

NEW ORLEANS, LA | June 3, 2020—Our hearts remain heavy as we struggle to find the words to express the pain, anger, frustration, and exhaustion we feel following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more of our brothers and sisters whose deaths weren’t captured on video, but who were murdered due to the color of their skin.

“Stories like these are all too familiar to the Black community, and the trauma is real.” according to Ashley Shelton, executive director of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice (PCEJ–http://powercoalition.org). “It’s generational trauma that has to end. I cannot watch anymore videos of black lives being taken by police. We must stand together and more importantly take action. I ask that we all stand in this moment, that we ask more of our elected leaders, that we ask our elected leaders to not only reimagine these systems but to actually reform them.”

PCEJ’s mission has always been centered on racial equity. In the face of these concurrent crises–a virus that is disproportionately harming Black and Brown folks, amid a system that is doing the same–we will redouble our efforts and strive to be even more intentional about how we stand with our people to create a state and a country where no one has to live in fear, where no one is denied opportunity, where no one is unfairly targeted by the police, where no one’s humanity is denied because of the color of their skin.

Accomplishing those goals will require a people-centered movement and bold leadership that is willing to question systems and structures. It will require the fundamental reform of American policing, including banning the use of choke holds and severely limiting the use of force. With this in mind, we will lead and support movement-building and community organizing efforts that hold elected officials accountable across Louisiana.

“The protests in Shreveport were mainly organized by our young people,” said PCEJ’s North Louisiana Organizer Candice Battiste. “We honor their passion and will work with them to effectively channel it into continued change. We recognize that while George Floyd is the catalyst for the current uprising, there are Black women, young Black daughters, and Black LGBTQ+ folks who must be protected with the same ferocity and grieved with the same consistency.”

No matter our backgrounds, this is a time for self-reflection and action as individuals and as a society, especially for the people who have traditionally benefited from the systems and structures we currently have in place. Have the events of the past few weeks and months inspired you to ask yourself difficult questions, and challenged you to think more deeply about the answers to those questions? Are you committed to building a better, more equitable, more inclusive future, or do you yearn for a return to normalcy or to uphold the status quo?

If your questions are about reimagining our state and our country, then reach out to us and we will help you use your voice for change.

Working with dozens of our partner organizations, we developed a set of proactive policies, called the Roadmap to Recovery, to help bring about the systemic change we need in our communities across the state. You can find it here: http://powercoalition.org/Downloads/PolicyDemands-Comprehensive.pdf

The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice works to build voice and power in traditionally ignored communities, with a focus on communities of color. We are a coalition of groups from across Louisiana whose mission is to organize in impacted communities, educate and turn out voters, and fight for policies that create a more equitable and just system in Louisiana.

What: Statement on the murder of George Floyd and the current state of affairs in the U.S.

When: June 3, 2020

Contacts:

Ashley Shelton, Executive Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (225) 802-2435, ashelton@powercoalition.org

Peter Robins-Brown, Communications Director, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, (504) 256-8196, prb@powercoalition.org