June 1, 2020

The Partnership Responds to the Weekend’s Police Violence

June 1, 2020

The Partnership for the Homeless condemns this weekend’s police violence enacted upon New Yorkers who are justly protesting the racism and white supremacy at the root of inequity in America, most recently manifested in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade, as well as the disproportionate impact of Covid- 19 and its economic fallout, on communities of color.

Members of The Partnership’s staff and community who attended the weekend’s protests witnessed first-hand some of the NYPD aggression in response to peaceful protestors.

Unjust policing is all too familiar for New Yorkers at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. As most recently illustrated by the NYPD action to force people sheltering in the subway system into the streets or congregate shelters that many fear increase their risk to Covid-19.

This moment in history has underscored how the police are deployed to uphold societal inequity, whether it is the contrast between the use of force, tear gas and weapons against peaceful protestors at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn over the weekend v. the calm inaction of police a couple of weeks ago as heavily armed white people stormed government buildings in Michigan, or the pictures of NYPD officers gently distributing masks to white people flouting social distancing guidelines in Manhattan v. the violent arrests of people of color in neighborhoods around the city under the guise of social distancing enforcement.

In the face of Covid-19, this inequity has proven to be the deadliest of underlying conditions. The pandemic’s destruction is flowing along our society’s pre-existing channels of discrimination and racism such that Black and Brown families have disproportionately suffered Covid-related illness and death. New Yorkers living in low-income communities are more likely to be frontline workers, have no choice but to continue to use public transportation to get to work, and be living in substandard and overcrowded housing situations that make physical distancing impossible. The brunt of the economic fallout is similarly being borne by people in low-income households and communities of color. More than two in every three jobs lost in NYC paid less than $40,000 per year. For more than a million people in our city, the turn of each month now marks another missed rent payment. There is an eviction and homelessness crisis swelling around us and it too will be borne by people of color. So far, no level of government has stepped up with the adequate funding to prevent this eventuality.

Leadership in this moment means recognizing the systemic inequity disproportionately hurting and killing people of color and enacting measures that erode its root cause, white supremacy. Leadership is not marshaling the tools of white supremacy in an attempt to beat down, silence and disappear all of us who are rising up to demand change.

Now is the time to call on your elected officials to condemn the NYPD’s aggression and violence against those exercising their constitutional right to protest. And, let them know that you support the appointment of the NYS Attorney General or another independent body to investigate and bring justice to those whose rights were violated by law enforcement.

Photo by Julian Wan on Unsplash