SJAC Chronicles

Social Justice is global justice providing equity in the distribution of wealth,
opportunities, and privileges within a global society.



The White House, Washington

Dear Alonzo:

Thank you for writing.  There are too many places in America where communities of color feel unfairly targeted by police and where police departments feel unfairly attacked for doing their jobs.  Without commenting on incidents where there may still be an investigation, I recognize these fears and frustrations are deeply felt—they are rooted in realities that have existed for a long time.  But I’ve witnessed our Nation make tremendous progress in my own life, and I still believe we are not as divided as we may seem.

When any part of our American family is not fairly treated, that’s a problem for all of us—it means we are not as strong a country as we can be.  No one should have to fear being profiled or targeted simply because of the color of their skin, and every citizen should be able to have confidence that the police are working to protect them.  We have some tough history, and the despair of peaceful protestors cannot be dismissed.  But we also cannot ask police to solve the issues we refuse to address as a society—including substandard schools, inadequate jobs, and a lack of opportunity—that contribute to crime and unrest in communities that have felt forgotten for far too long.

Law enforcement officials have incredibly difficult jobs and put their lives at risk to protect us.  The overwhelming majority are fair, dedicated, and honest public servants who care deeply about our communities.  As I have repeatedly made clear, any attack on police is an attack on the rule of law and on civilized society, and activists who use rhetoric suggesting harm to police do a disservice to the very cause of justice they claim to promote.  At the same time, all Americans should be troubled when discrimination persists in our institutions, and our men and women in law enforcement are most effective and safest when people have confidence in the system.  That is why my Administration is working to enhance community policing.  We are taking concrete steps to implement the commonsense, pragmatic recommendations my Task Force on 21st Century Policing put forward last year based on input from police officers and community leaders, including elected officials, civil rights activists, and young people.  We have already seen these recommendations spur discussion and reforms in departments throughout our country.  But to reach all 18,000 law enforcement jurisdictions, we need communities to engage and make sure their local departments have reviewed and are working to implement these recommendations.  To learn more, visit www.Cops.USDOJ.gov/PolicingTaskForce.

I have repeatedly convened law enforcement and community leaders in order to help promote dialogue and understanding, and I know that State and local leaders are organizing similar gatherings.  Our progress depends on honest and respectful conversations happening around our country.  With open hearts, we can learn to look at the world through each other’s eyes so that those protesting for change can guard against reckless language and violence and police departments can acknowledge that insisting we do better to root out racial bias is not an attack on cops, but an effort to live up to our highest ideals.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I am deeply committed to the promise of what our Nation can be—one in which all people deserve equal treatment and equal respect.  There are some who seek to divide us, but rather than give in to inflammatory rhetoric, let us reflect on our common humanity and ask what we can do better.  We may not solve every problem or tear down every barrier of mistrust overnight, but by working together and addressing our challenges in the open space of democracy, we can bring about a future in which all our children know their lives matter.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama


Visit WhiteHouse.gov


Social Justice Advocacy is an integral part of UnseenXS’ mission, striving to create balance in a global society providing equity in access to goods and services.  Community awareness is the first step to change, and SJAC Chronicles* reflect some of the many issues that UnseenXS board members have identified as pressing injustice.  Researched and written by UnseenXS board members, the articles* bring awareness of these issues to the global community.

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