100 signatures reached
To: Santa Cruz City Council
Santa Cruz City Council: Defund the Police, Refund our Communities!
To Mayor Cummings and Santa Cruz Council members,
We, the undersigned, are demanding true racial and economic justice for people of color (POC) and working class communities, not more performative gestures. For many centuries, our country’s police system has been responsible for the many senseless acts of violence and oppression of marginalized peoples. The police system was born out of slave patrol and suppressing worker movements and continues to do so to this day, in many different ways. When we say #blacklivesmatter, we are talking about putting an end to systemic racism and inequality once and for all. No more Breonna Taylors. No more George Floyds. We want to see a future where we are funding services and providing resources for our marginalized communities, not policing them because of the lack thereof. This cannot be done with an over-inflated police budget. We are calling on you to defund the Santa Cruz Police Department and instead divert funding to programs that will truly keep POC safe, lift marginalized communities into healthy lives, and keep them out of the situations that have been forced on them due to poverty and inequality.
Our City spent a third of its budget on the Police in the last fiscal year, while working class people and POC continue to struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Over 70% of crimes reported were property theft in 2019. When members of our community cannot maintain their homes or are in dire economic hardship, they are forced to do whatever it takes to survive. Our city cannot police itself out of economic inequality. Instead of spending money on policing poverty, we should be looking towards compassionate and restorative solutions that get at the root cause of the problem. Our city council could instead be investing in truly affordable housing projects and economic relief for both working-class families and homeless people.
As we’ve seen across the country, police interactions with communities of color and those with mental disorders often result in violence or worse, death. And solutions like body cams or racial bias training have not been effective. Cities across the country have tried police reforms to minimize violent interactions with little to no success. Instead of spending so much city resources responding to petty crimes of which police are ill-equipped to handle, we could be sending crisis intervention specialists like those from CAHOOTS in Eugene, Oregon. CAHOOTS send a trained mental health crisis counsellor and EMT to respond to non-violent and non-life-threatening calls, providing resources to those who may need it when they arrive. This approach is a much more compassionate and cost-effective way to respond to those who need help, not someone carrying lethal weapons.
We hope that you will do the right thing and not just take into consideration our demands but also make real steps to achieving these meaningful, systemic changes. How you vote on these important issues today will affect who we vote for tomorrow. Thank you.
Why is this important?
The Black Lives Matter movement means more than just stopping police-related death of people of color at the hands of law enforcement. It means looking at how racism plays into every aspect of American life. It is time that as Americans, we take a hard look at our racist institutions and ask ourselves if we’re willing to fight for long-lasting, systemic changes or if we are willing to continue with reformism and business as usual.
Defunding the police does not mean less public safety. It means that instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on policing the ailments of society, which solve nothing, we should be investing in programs that directly benefit over-policed, POC, and marginalized communities. Please sign our petition to show the Santa Cruz City Council that they need to do more than performative gestures!