Friends General Conference

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Why Is There a "Black Lives Matter" Sign on the Meetinghouse Lawn?

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The following excerpt was copied from the Washington Post online article entitled "Aren't More White People Than Black People Killed by Police? Yes, but No."

"Police have shot and killed a young black man (ages 18 to 29) — such as Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. —175 times since January 2015; 24 of them were unarmed. Over that same period, police have shot and killed 172 young white men, 18 of whom were unarmed. Once again, while in raw numbers there were similar totals of white and black victims, blacks were killed at rates disproportionate to their percentage of the U.S. population. Of all of the unarmed people shot and killed by police in 2015, 40 percent of them were black men, even though black men make up just 6 percent of the nation’s population...

And, when considering shootings confined within a single race, a black person shot and killed by police is more likely to have been unarmed than a white person. About 13 percent of all black people who have been fatally shot by police since January 2015 were unarmed, compared with 7 percent of all white people.  In response to these statistics, critics of police reform — often political conservatives and police unions — typically argue that the reason more black men and women are shot and killed by police is that black Americans commit more violent crime...

“The only thing that was significant in predicting whether someone shot and killed by police was unarmed was whether or not they were black,” said Justin Nix, a criminal-justice researcher at the University of Louisville and one of the report’s authors, said in April. “Crime variables did not matter in terms of predicting whether the person killed was unarmed.''  "This just bolsters our confidence that there is some sort of implicit bias going on,” Nix said. “Officers are perceiving a greater threat when encountered by unarmed black citizens.”

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As Quakers, we believe that there is that of God in every person.  All lives matter.  We mourn the murder of police officers, the massacre of children in schools, the slaughter of gay people in night clubs, and the bombing of people watching marathons.  Unfortunately, with the tragic shootings that have occurred in Minnesota, Louisiana, and elsewhere, it is evident that the lives of black people--especially young black men--are not valued by society to the same extent as white lives.  Systemic racism, along with a culture of white supremacy, that adversely affect the education, opportunities, economic security, health, freedom, and safety of families of color and other minorities needs to be eliminated.   So, yes, black lives matter.

For more information on Quaker views related to "Black Lives Matter," please click on the links below under "Files" and "Links."

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