Drop the Charges Against Minnesota Uprising Defendants
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We, the undersigned, join Minnesota Uprising Arrestee Support (MUAS) in demanding the above individuals, as well as prosecutors everywhere, drop ALL charges, ranging from curfew violations to felonies, related to the uprising following the tragic murder of George Floyd.
In the aftermath of the callous murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, millions of people across the world took to the street. They did this not just for George Floyd, but for what his death stirred in everyone who had faced or seen systemic racism, police brutality, or abuse by the status quo; those who knew we could do better. The people were diverse, as were their actions and their visions for the future. Diverse, but united in a belief that the system of policing as it stands is not only failing to meet the needs of the people it purports to serve, but is actively harming them.
On the streets, in the parks, and in the neighborhoods of Minnesota we are creating new ways of relating to each other based on mutual respect, care, and collective responsibility. People are taking care of their own communities, asking for help from each other, and meeting the needs of safety, community health, and strength by building community solutions to the problems we face. These commitments are driven by a conviction that the policing and prison systems we have held in place until now do not serve us or make us safer, but exacerbate harm, especially on Black, Indigenous, and working people of color. When we say “abolish the police,” we are talking about taking back the resources that have been extracted from our communities and funneled toward their militarization and containment. We are also talking about replacing them with resources that prevent violence — housing, healthcare, public education, nutritious food, transportation, etc. Prosecutors, like the police, stand in the way of our efforts to make communities healthier, happier, and stronger. They limit what is truly possible by offering such a limited vision of justice as to be impotent, or worse, to exacerbate continued cycles of systemic violence through the legal system. Procedural justice is not substantive social justice. Community members should not be prosecuted for working to protect each other and to build a better world.
In a historic time where we are facing unprecedented economic crisis, evictions and homelessness, disease and vulnerability, the answer to the challenges our community faces is not further repression. The people of Minnesota are now working to create a better world, one where we take care of each other, where no neighbor is without a home, where no one goes hungry, and where none of us are murdered by the police. There is so much more we can do but are limited when we must also fight these arcane systems trying so hard to keep everything the same.
Choosing to continue to prosecute these cases is choosing to uplift the injustice of the status quo in spite of the needs of the communities most affected. We demand that all of the charges be dropped and invite you to take this action now in a spirit of change. The renowned author Octavia Butler reminds us that, “The only lasting truth is change.” You can help shape change or you can continue to stand in the way and be left behind.
“We know that the systems that shape our lives are also shaped by us; culture is both learned and created. To create radical change, we must simultaneously transform ourselves and the way we treat each other. We humbly work to move away from a world built on scarcity, “security” by force, and punishment. Instead we choose to embrace a vision of abundance, security through resilience, and transformation.” (MUAS vision statement)
In the interest of justice, get out of the way and let our communities heal.
Drop the charges!
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