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Black Lives Matter – Taking Action Against Racialized Violence

Published June 2nd, 2020

Dear Community,

Not one of us can ignore the fact that racism is alive and well in this country. Institutionalized systemic racism is a pervasive thread in the fabric of America. Each of us is a witness to the brutalization of black bodies. It is a highly visible indicator of racism that continues to show up in a world that upholds the concept of white supremacy.

We, the staff and board of Wild Earth, are united in condemning the actions of the individuals who threatened, hunted down and murdered Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.

These are five recent losses that have been elevated to the national consciousness, but there are countless others that should be named and remembered.

While we must recognize these lives lost, we want to focus on uplifting the voices of Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) as they share their experiences and desires for just treatment.

What is most in our power in this moment is to take action within our local communities. The purpose of this letter is to share with you what we’re doing at Wild Earth and highlight some direct actions we each can take.

What we’re doing at Wild Earth:

We are committed to building community with our black and brown neighbors and recognize the role we play in supporting and encouraging our youth. We are privileged to mentor and teach in our local schools. We embrace our obligation to support our young people in the fullness of their identities. We want to amplify their leadership as they lead marches and protests. We want to respond to their requests around the injustices they face on a daily basis. In addition, Wild Earth is committed to supporting a wide range of efforts to bring justice and equity to those most impacted by racism, such as building out a Kingston Mutual Aid Network, attending local rallies and marches, redirecting funds to those in need, aiding in food distribution efforts and partnering with social justice and service oriented organizations.

What each of us can do:

Join us in taking the following actions to address police brutality:

Repeal Section 50-a of the New York Civil Rights Law

“The New York State legislature must repeal Civil Rights Law 50-a, which has been used to shield law enforcement from accountability by preventing transparency regarding acts of misconduct by police officers. The law has been broadly interpreted so that people who are accused of crimes have no access to the disciplinary records of the officers who are testifying against them.” (The Action Network)

Locally, we are following the lead of RiseUp Kingston, as they ask us to contact:

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins – 518-455-2585 or scousins@nysenate.gov
Speaker Carl E. Heastie – 518-455-3791 or Speaker@nyassembly.gov

    Sample Script for MAJORITY LEADER & SPEAKER

Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am calling to urge Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins/Speaker Heastie to reconvene session and pass the bill to repeal 50-a (A2513/S3695). In light of the recent police violence in Minneapolis and New York, we are counting on the legislature to move this critical police transparency measure. Will the Majority Leader/Speaker commit to reconvening session and bringing the bill to repeal 50-a to the floor? Thank you for your time.

    Sample Script for LEGISLATORS

Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am calling to urge [LEGISLATORS NAME] to advocate for the legislature to reconvene & support passage of the bill to repeal 50-a (A2513/S3695) as soon as possible. In light of the recent police violence in Minneapolis and New York, we are counting on the legislature to move this critical police transparency measure. Can we confirm that [LEGISLATOR’S NAME] will push for the bill to repeal 50-a to come to a floor vote in the Senate/Assembly? If the bill comes to the floor, will [LEGISLATORS NAME] vote yes? Thank you for your time and consideration

Call Ulster County District Attorney Dave Clegg to investigate all the police officers that received haircuts against the NYS on Pause order

A barber in midtown Kingston tested positive for COVID-19 in early May, after cutting hair against the New York State on Pause order. Many people in Kingston have expressed dismay that the barber was cutting the hair of Kingston Police Department officers during this time, making them implicit in disobeying the order. With officers patrolling in Kingston and other communities without masks, this could be contributing to the spread of the virus.

Again, we are following RiseUp Kingston’s lead on addressing this matter:

Contact Mayor Steve Noble at (845) 334-3902 or mayor@kingston-ny.gov
Demand he hold police officers accountable for violating the order, and not wearing masks, and that he provide public data of stops initiated by enforcement of Covid-19 related orders.

Contact Dave Clegg for DA at 845-340-3280 or ucda@co.ulster.ny.us
Demand that he investigate all the police officers that received hair cuts against the order.

Sign RiseUp Kingston’s Police Accountability Petition here: http://bit.ly/rukpap

In Solidarity,

Wild Earth


Omari WashingtonOmari WashingtonOmari Washington, Communications & Connections Director

Omari Washington identified his purpose in 2004, during a backpacking & paddling trip above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Despite emerging evidence, at that time few people were willing to believe climatologists’ warnings that humans were negatively impacting our planet. Hiking across the melting permafrost, Omari witnessed the significant changes already taking place. Moreover, he knew that many marginalized communities would be disproportionately affected by our inaction. After returning from that trip, Omari attended Green Mountain College in Vermont and received a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Since then, he has led hikes in urban parks, managed diverse teams of environmental educators, built school gardens, developed curricula, and helped plant 1,000,000 trees in New York City. The focus of all of this work has been to engage and empower youth in developing deep connections to nature, centered around their own unique experiences. Omari is grateful to be welcomed into the Wild Earth community, where young leaders are growing wild! More about Omari's work.

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