April 12
07:00 2018

Police use fatal force on MLK death anniversary

To the Editor:

Saheed Vassell was killed in broad daylight by four police officers who clearly didn’t stop long enough to ask a single question about his condition. We know that any concern over Mr. Vassell’s condition should have been met with mental health supports and that is not the role that police are trained to play. The level of force these officers used was undoubtedly far too excessive and led to an untimely and unjustified death.

There are a number of instances where police are responding with extreme violence toward people of color who show signs of mental health struggles. It is no coincidence that this is the approach police are taking in communities of color.

This happened on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a chilling reminder of how much we have yet to overcome.

Judith Browne-Dianis

Executive Director of the Advancement Project

(a multi-racial civil rights organization)

Washington, D.C.

Note: On the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, four New York Police Department officers shot and killed Saheed Vassell in Brooklyn, NY.

Democrats commemorate MLK fight for equality

To the Editor:

It was no accident that Dr. King spent his final days in Memphis 50 years ago to support the thirteen hundred sanitation workers marching for better wages and working conditions. He knew that the foundation of the fight for equality has always been economic opportunity, and he gave his life for that cause.

As we celebrate his life, let us recommit ourselves to his vision of equality, opportunity, and justice for all people – no matter what they look like, where they come from, who they love, or how they pray. Fifty years after Dr. King’s tragic assassination, it’s on all of us to fight for progress every day and ensure that we leave a more perfect union and world to future generations.

Tom Perez, Chairman

Democratic National Committee

Washington, D.C.

Though this might be the 50th time Americans have rallied in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, his voice is just as loud and crystal clear as ever. His message reverberates throughout our communities and remains a fire within our hearts.

By no means is his mission complete. Wages in our communities are still stagnant. Racism, both hidden and overt, still permeates our politics. Not even our country’s children have equal access to good education and health care. But in the face of all these obstacles, we can be thankful that Dr. King taught us how to move forward and persevere. His life’s work was spent showing us that we can challenge the status quo and fight for change peacefully.

As long as we can vote, we should have hope for the future. That’s exactly why we’ll push for expanded voting rights, and that’s why we’ll continue to organize and mobilize communities across America.

Virgie Rollins, Chairwoman

DNC Black Caucus

Washington, D.C.

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