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Statement on the Recent Police Violence against Black People and Peaceful Protesters

(Illustration: Leslie Garvey / POGO)

We are deeply saddened and angered by the continued deaths of Black people at the hands of police officers and vigilantes. We are appalled at the elected leaders who responded with silence, or who reacted to peaceful protests with violent rhetoric and instigated unnecessary crackdowns on those engaging in civil dissent protected by the Constitution.

The violence against Black Americans that has made national headlines in recent weeks is nothing new. It is tethered to the country’s long history of slavery, racism, and discrimination. And, as a nation, we cannot take any steps forward until all of us can walk and speak without fear that our own government will target us as the enemy.

We recognize that POGO is not an organization that has been leading the fight against racial injustice. Yet, everyone bears the responsibility to confront injustice, oppression, and systemic inequality in our institutions. The Project On Government Oversight’s mission is to fight corruption and abuse of power, and Black Americans have been disproportionately targeted and harmed by that abuse of power throughout our nation’s history.

The Project On Government Oversight commits to increasing our focus on breaking down the barriers to accountability that allow institutional racism to fester. We will seek to end the militarization of local policing, limit immunity for law enforcement who violate constitutional rights, and promote reform and oversight of institutions like the Justice Department that play an outsized role in the policing of America. And we also promise to examine our own body of work to understand how we can better support and promote racial justice in the future.

We also encourage you to support groups that are leading the charge in the fight against racial injustice, including the NAACP-LDF, Color of Change, the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Campaign Zero, and Black Lives Matter.