CUAV statement on Ferguson and the killing of Mike Brown

In the wake of the killing of Mike Brown we are deeply saddened by losing yet another life to police brutality.  At CUAV we work with LGBTQ survivors of domestic and hate violence. Through our work we have come to understand police violence as an LGBTQ issue. We know that being a person of color, being LGBTQ, and/or being low-income continues to put people at a higher risk of police violence, including profiling, surveillance, zero-tolerance policies, and death, all over the nation.

Although we understand that all people of color are subjected to increased criminalization compared to white people, we know that black people continue to bear the brunt of systemic violence in our society. Collectively we must move away from a pervasive culture of anti-blackness that disproportionately leaves black people subjected to poverty, criminalization, and excess death in the name of “security.”

We want to move away from a culture that is dependent on punishment.  We understand that it is not about just one officer.  This is about a system that has the power to enforce a very narrow definition of safety. We need mechanisms that support us all to take responsibility for our impact, including law enforcement. Law enforcement should not be exempt from taking responsibility for violence, especially when deadly.

Investing our resources to create safety through law enforcement is not working.  While it is commonly believed police create safety/intervene in violence, we understand the tactics/methods of law enforcement often escalate violence rather than end it.  Furthermore, almost a quarter of the hate violence incidents committed by strangers against LGBTQ people came at the hands of police officers, according to a report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs published in 2013.

From our 35 years of doing anti-violence work we know that we need a culture where we address the systemic conditions that create and promote violence. What would it look like if we invested in collective support of impact-based responsibility and healing for all today?