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League responds to Police involved violence, Demands accountability for the sake of Democracy

June 5, 2020

The Board of the League of Women Voters of Arizona has issued the following statement:

Arizona voters have long depended on the League to empower voters and defend democracy. In keeping with that core mission we embrace this moment as a catalyst for historic change. In the coming weeks and months, we will be supporting our partners in the civil rights community who are working on legislation and policy reforms focused on creating systemic change in our government institutions, starting with unjust policing. We will listen to civil rights leaders spearheading this effort, and we will use our power, our talents, and our collective voices to support and amplify their work.

The League of Women Voters of the United States, which represents our organization nationally, has joined more than 100 organizations, including the NAACP, National Urban League and the Black Lives Matter Foundation, demanding federal statutory reforms on a range of policing issues. These issues include the use of force, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, and training. 

The League of Women Voters, both at the state and national level, acknowledges, painfully, that America is a nation founded on racism. It is our democratic duty to advocate for anti-racist policies at every level of government. The tragic loss of black and brown lives to police-involved violence has occurred over too many decades, but we can change that trajectory now. The repetitive violence we have witnessed as a nation has demonstrated the need for dramatic change. The prevalence of police brutality can no longer be tolerated. 

The core of our First Amendment is our right to join with our fellow citizens in protest and peaceful assembly. This is critical to a functioning democracy. Peaceful protest should not be met with the military-like responses we’ve seen around our nation. 

Voting can powerfully, meaningfully, jump-start change. Now, more than ever, it’s clear that real potential for change lies in ensuring voters are informed and the government is held accountable.We will continue to use our voice to provide concrete action steps for our state legislature while simultaneously pushing local League chapters to advocate for policy changes and adaptations at city and county levels.

The League stands strong in our commitment to creating a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge and the confidence to participate in government. We will continue our efforts to register as many people as possible and subsequently provide unbiased information for voters to make their own educated decisions.  It is more critical than ever that we, the League of Women Voters of Arizona, stand ready to ensure that every eligible voter is registered to vote, and their registration is current, and have been added to the Permanent Early Voter List if they want to be able to vote safely by mail during this pandemic.  We remain dedicated to our advocacy work that is focused on dismantling racism within our electoral system: People Powered Fair Maps, voting rights restoration for formerly incarcerated people, combating unfair voter purging, fighting voter ID laws, ensure that Native Americans have full access to vote, and opposing polling place closures that impose burdens of distance and longer lines.

“Let’s stop thinking that our voices don’t matter, and vote,” said Terrence Floyd, brother of George Floyd, earlier this week. “Not just for the president… Vote for everybody. Educate yourself.”  

 

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