Students for Sensible Drug Policy Statement of Solidarity with Uprisers and the Movement for Black Lives

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This entry has been published on June 2, 2020 and may be out of date.

Black Lives Matter and SSDP members around the world reacted with horror, again, at the murder, again, of an unarmed black person by police. On May 25, 2020, a Minneapolis, MN, USA, police officer used lethal force and knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes, a 46-year old black man who was unarmed, not resisting, and suspected of an offense involving $20. Only days earlier, a video was leaked of the February 23, 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year old black man, by law enforcement vigilantes in Glynn County, GA, USA. On March 13, 2020, at about 1 a.m., Breonna Taylor, a sleeping, unarmed 26-year old black woman, was killed in a “hail of bullets” by police mistakenly forcing their way into her apartment in Louisville, KY, USA, looking for a drug suspect who lived 10 miles away. 

SSDP stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all those who protest these murders, as well as the unceasing abuse of power by police and security forces around the world. SSDP also calls for wholesale, structural reconstruction of the punishment bureaucracy system, and the role of the police within it.

SSDP strongly condemns those who are holding George Floyd’s health and drug use against him, especially those who are going so far as to use it as an explanation or justification for his death. No human being, no matter what health conditions they have and substances they use, deserves to be murdered, brutalized, and shamed. 

The prevalence of police brutality, combined with lack of meaningful response from federal authorities, and complete lack of accountability systems in place for law enforcement speaks to the culture of silence that enables these problematic institutions. In this moment, we encourage our network members to amplify the voices of people of color, safely exercise civil liberties, and pressure elected officials. Until we directly confront white supremacy, we will only be treating symptoms of its structural violence. 

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