Most recognize the command [CTRL +P] as shortcut to initiate printing. What if I told you that you were just a “print command” away from contributing to the much needed change our country? Well you are!
I, like many of you, was shaken by last week’s events and continue to be frightened by headlines of subsequent tragic deaths of both police officers and civilians. As an African American woman it breaks my heart to witness such disregard for life but also to have to come to terms with what this truly means for our community and for the progress of our nation. More than ever, I feel the need to act, to inspire and to build community.
I have intentionally waited to write this post so that it wasn’t too emotionally charged that it wouldn’t be received across cultural lines. That being said, the reality is that police brutality and killings disproportionately affect the black community. No community, race or ethnicity deserves the prospect of life greater than another. We must stand together and demand the preservation of life be prioritized by law enforcement.
While I don’t claim to know everything about activism, I do know that there are multiple ways that you and I can be apart of the solution. One way that I have chosen to help is to reach out to elected officials about enacting policy that protects us against unlawful police violence.
Before writing my letter, I searched the internet for templates that would address this subject matter. I found nothing. I then reached out to a great friend of mine who also wrote a letter to her senator and she was kind enough to share her very personal, very heartfelt plea for change.
It was exactly what I needed to get started and I realized that if I found it helpful in structuring my letter then maybe you would too. I omitted her personal story and added content so that anyone can take the letter and personalize if for their own use. I wanted to make the process as easy as possible so that more people like you participate. My site also provides a widget that, upon entering your zip code, gives you the contact information for your government officials for sending off the letter. Easy peasy, right!
Here are a couple of tips I found during my research that will help you as you personalize the letter:
- Make your letter 1 page or less
- Make sure you include a specific call to action 9 (ex.
- Make sure to include why this matters to you
- Consider sending the letter to City, State and Federal elected officials
- In the letter (or on the submission site) ask for a response from your government official
- If you don’t get a response send a follow up letter asking again
My platform may not be enormous but it is a platform nonetheless. My goal is that this serves as a tool that empowers and reduces the hesitation to speak up and ask for change. Please join me in this mission!
Dear Senator / Representative [insert name],
As your constituent, I strongly urge you to work with your colleagues to enact legislation to address police violence in our country. The safety of our children and of all of us depends on the action you take to build in systems of accountability and prioritize preservation of life as a primary principle of law enforcement officials.
Over a 48 hour period I witnessed videos on social media chronicling the brutal murders of two young men, Alton Sterling (Baton Rouge, LA) and Philandro Castile (MN) at the hand of police officers. I am both deeply shaken and disturbed by these events as well as a series of similar subsequent tragedies that reveal the palpable inadequacy of our policing system.
There are now blatant civil rights violations occurring almost weekly against innocent black men and women, Not to mention a lack of action from our government to battle the sweeping injustice and overt targeting of black men and women by our law enforcement officials.
So, in the name of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown, LaQuan McDonald, and the countless other victims killed by law enforcement, I implore you to take action and improve the legislation to prevent these thoughtless killings. I ask that we pass laws to have mandatory training on diversity and anti-discrimination for all law enforcement officers, improve the use of body cameras on a national scale, and have true accountability – i.e., actual legal consequences – for police officers that violate their oath to serve and protect.
I am proud to be an American but I am ashamed to witness what appears to be systemic disregard for black lives. Police should have the skills and cultural competence to protect and serve our communities without killing people. With your help and advocacy I hope that one day all black men and women can feel proud, safe, and protected in this country. I ask this on behalf of the next generation of young black men and women all over the United States who deserve to have the same freedoms promised to them as the other citizens of this country.
I would appreciate a response letter of your intent. I hope I can count on you and your efforts.
With sincere respect,[your signature & printed name].
The the widget is inoperable use this link:
and scroll down to the END POLICE VIOLENCE WIDGET and enter your zip-code.