We as Quakers representing the Peace and Social Justice committee of the New Paltz Friends Meeting wish to express our support for the Black Lives Matter movement as well as voicing our concern for the inequality that exists in our nation. Black people face inequality in employment, housing, education and the justice system. We believe that all people are children of God and deserve the same treatment and opportunities. Everyone deserves to be held in the light.
In America it is clear that Black people are treated differently than White people. This division is especially evident in confrontations between Black people and the police. Black people are stopped more often for traffic checks. Some encounters result in the murder or injury of an innocent Black person. Often the police are not charged or are exonerated by a grand jury.
The prison population is made up of 34% Black people, while Black men and women make up only 13 % of the population. Often justice is denied because proper legal representation cannot be afforded. Their sentences are often longer than the ones given to White people for the same offense. Also parole boards tend to err on the side of caution, offering no reprieve for sentences which sometimes are 20 years or longer. We as Quakers support spiritual meetings for worship with men and women who are incarcerated and teach AVP (Alternative to Violence Project)to people in prison. We also help those released from prison find work and reintegrate them into society.
There is a huge gap between the rich and poor in this country and it is widening. Black people make up a disproportionate amount of those living in poverty. Millions are out of work and cannot find food or shelter for their families. The millionaires, billionaires and large corporations must level the playing field by paying a fair share of their taxes which can be used for public programs.
Our society is inherently unfair and there are fewer prospects for Black people than for White people. Black people are affected more by the Covid 19 virus as they tend to have less access to quality health care. Every American must be given the same opportunities and treatment. We have a lot to do to make our society fair and just for all. Our country is affected by systemic racism and we are committed to bring about an anti-racist society.
We have faith that we can change things by making our voices heard and do whatever we can to make America a more just society. Democracy is at stake as a privileged few are running the country.