A cohort of racial justice and civil rights organizations delivered a petition advocating for major police reforms to the Department of Justice this afternoon. With more than 500,000 signatures, the petition urges the White House to defund police departments that reject community-based reforms. It also calls for justice in the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Color of Change, which led the effort, partnered with Advancement Project, BYP100, the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, Black Lives Matter and the NAACP for a 2 p.m. press conference.
The petition reads:
Our criminal justice system is not properly holding police accountable. We must defund police departments that employ officers who are quick to kill and condone practices that do not value Black life. Our nation, politicians and many police are in agreement that police departments need reform, however, no one is ensuring this reform happens—and more and more Black people are getting killed because of it.
On November 4, the Advancement Project, a multicultural civil rights organization, will team with pro bono legal counsel Arnold & Porter to challenge Wisconsin’s voter ID law for the first time in court since the controversial measure went into effect in 2011. Hearing the case will be U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, and looming heavily is the controversial Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the pre-clearance protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
“As the leading democracy of the world, the U.S. should work to keep our voting system free, fair, and accessible to all Americans,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair. “Yet we are witnessing the greatest assault on voting rights in decades.” From Advancement Project’s press release regarding the impending court case, the group alleges that Wisconsin is blatantly disenfranchising voters.
According to figures provided by the Advancement Project, a staggering 28,000 African-Americans and 12,000 Hispanic voters nationwide do not possess a driver’s license or state-issued ID. Those numbers show 16 percent are African-Americans and 24.8 percent are Hispanics; the disparity is especially troubling when comparing those percentage numbers to just 9.5 percent Whites who lack identification.