Dear Friends of PACE,
During this time of civil unrest, I am compelled to deliver this message.
PACE was founded over 40 years ago to battle racism and social injustice. Unfortunately, both continue to rage on today. Although I predicted that there would be demonstrations across the country around the outrage of George Floyd’s murder, I had no idea when or where they would occur. However, the ‘why’ was always certain.
Abuses of power and police brutality have been prevalent for decades. The murder of George Floyd is only the latest injustice that we have seen. This type of incident has occurred again and again in American history. Many ask and wonder, “Why?” While sociologists may differ and disagree, I am certain that the majority would say that racism plays a big role.
Another important factor is the reluctance of police departments to implement changes. Real changes. In the aftermath of the 1992 riots, highly credentialed individuals studied the situation and created a report with 40 pages of recommendations. How many of these recommendations were implemented? We may never know but one thing that is certain is police departments need to be diversified. A cultural change is necessary. It begins with hiring people of color to police communities of color. The more resistant police departments are, the longer it will take for change to occur and the more people of color will die as a result. The first autopsy attempting to exonerate the police officers is a glaring example of the systemic racism that needs to be weeded out.
I am hopeful to see messages of unity coming from leaders around the country such as the statements from the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (an association that PACE belongs to), The Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) and the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus . We join them, along with hundreds of others, in demanding equal treatment under the law and real police reform.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King once said “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?…It has failed to hear that promises of freedom and justice have not been met.” Let’s remember the message behind the peaceful protests and demonstrations: racial injustice, police brutality and inequality will no longer be tolerated. Do not let the small minority of looters detract us from this message or the important work being done to empower the disenfranchised.
President & CEO