Every year in the United States, roughly 1,000 people are killed by the police. Black people have a 2.5 times greater likelihood of being killed by the police than White people. These figures alone, and what they say about the racist use of state violence in the US, are harrowing, but they do not convey the true horror of the situation. On 25th May, 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed, Black civilian, was callously killed by a police officer in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, while other police officers looked on. George begged not to be killed — he cried for his mother — the officers did nothing. The officers, sworn to protect and serve the people, did what they have been doing for hundreds of years: they cruelly robbed another unarmed Black person of their life.
At Citizen State, we stand for a universal and underlying defense, respect, and upholding of human rights. This tenet of our identity is so central that it forms the First Pledge of our Manifesto. George’s rights were not defended, and nor are the rights of the millions of other Black people in America and around the world who are forced to live in fear of police violence. It is our duty as a Movement to put principles into action and make a commitment to combat a system that for too long has given agents of the nation the freedom to oppress our Black brethren. We must join in the true proclamation so that all may hear: Black Lives Matter!
In truth, we don’t feel that anything we write can adequately express our horror and hurt. We are heartbroken, infuriated, and sickened by the perpetual drumbeat of White supremacist racism. Our rulers, it seems, have chosen to forfeit their right to govern by unleashing unlawful uses of force by the police on the people. No one owes loyalty to a system that oppresses them — in fact, we owe it to ourselves to resist it.
We wholeheartedly support the ongoing protests that are gripping our world. Even when faced with unimaginable threats to liberty, health, and life, people worldwide have banded together to say no to oppression, no to state sponsored violence, no to racism. As police and security forces (both official and unmarked) show their true nature and abuse those whom they swore to protect, these abuses are continuously recorded, the crimes preserved for justice to pursue. The camera in each of our pockets is our greatest tool of liberty. These devices endow us with the power to hold authority to account, documenting their crimes, but also forever enshrining the defiant acts of those, protesters and authorities, who righteously stood up to violence, cruelty, and illegality.
History teaches us that struggle is necessary for true liberty. Whilst we focus on the immediate actions of protest, our long view must be for a world that works for all and routs racism, hatred, and bigotry forever. We truly believe that this world is possible, that for all the evil in the human heart, the kind and strong actions of the just can and will prevail.
Citizen State will be redoubling its efforts to support and stand with our Black members, allies, friends, and the Black community as a whole, as well as looking for ways to properly listen, learn and resist. As a first step, we are committing financial resources to support the following organizations:
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
America’s leading legal organization fighting for racial justice
- Nationwide Bail Fund
Supporting bail for protesters across the USA
- American Civil Liberties Union
Preserving and promoting civil rights as guaranteed by the United States Constitution
- Equal Justice Initiative
Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment
- Protesters Themselves
We will be making some funds available directly to Citizen State protesters themselves who require financial assistance on the front lines through direct transfers
Of course, financial support is but the first step which we need to take. This struggle requires the full mobilization of society to succeed and we hope to contribute as much as possible to it.
Finally, we want to salute all those of you who are on the front lines, defiantly staring into the jaws of police brutality every single day — you are the true heroes!