Author: People For the American Way | Date: 01 October 2020
WASHINGTON, DC— Today during a video press call, People For the American Way announced its “Stop Police Killings” slate and official endorsement of more than 100 young, progressive candidates running for state or local office across 26 states, who are committed to stopping police killings and have demonstrated their commitment to create solutions for public safety and to protect their communities.
Panelists on the call included People For President Ben Jealous, leading civil rights attorney Billy Murphy, who represented the family of Freddie Gray in Maryland, Christian Menefee, candidate for Harris County Attorney in Texas, Stephanie Morales, Commonwealth's Attorney for Portsmouth, Virginia, Brandon Scott, current Baltimore City Council President and Democratic nominee for Mayor, and Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way political director and leader of its Next Up Victory Fund.
The goal of the “Stop Police Killings” slate is to help elect candidates into key positions, in key presidential and U.S Senate swing states and metro areas where they can help usher in lasting progressive changes at local and state levels. The Next Up Victory Fund will support candidates in competitive races, to help them win their elections, through donations, earned media support, social media, and activating members. Click here to see the full slate.
“We value equal treatment, justice and fairness under the law and when it comes to the killings of unarmed civilians at the hands of law enforcement our system has failed,” said Jealous. “The movement to stop police killings must be waged through demonstrations and protests in the streets, but also within the halls of government where our elected leaders must have the courage to act when law enforcement abuses their badge. These candidates are committed to substantive police reform and we are honored to support their candidacies.”
“It will take a new generation of progressive and more diverse candidates who not only understand the impact of police killings on communities of color but who are also passionate about pursuing justice for their communities,” said Ocampo.
“Public servants have a responsibility to protect their communities,” said Morales, who successfully prosecuted a police officer that killed an unarmed Black teen. “The charge to reimagine what public safety looks like in our country is long overdue, and I’m pleased to join this roster of incredible candidates to hold violent police officers who violate the law criminally accountable for terrorizing Black and brown communities.”
“This is a pivotal moment in our country and I am excited to join this group of diverse, progressive candidates fighting for police reform. Local governments have the power to bring real change -- we cannot and should not sit on our hands waiting for the federal government to act. It’s time for local leaders to step up and protect Black and Brown communities,” said Menefee.
“As a public servant, I’ve dedicated my life to building safer communities for all of my constituents. A key pillar for progress has to be meaningful and sustained reform to how we police communities of color,” said Scott. “As elected officials, we have to be courageous in advocating for our constituents who are fearful of interacting with police but also deserve to live in safe communities. We can end police killings of unarmed civilians and begin to rebuild trust so that law enforcement is focused on doing the things necessary to keep all communities safe. I’m honored to be a part of this slate in recognition of the work I’ve done over the past several years to reform policing. As Baltimore’s next mayor, I pledge my commitment to holding our police department accountable and reimagining public safety.”
The “Stop Police Killings” slate announcement follows a spring and summer of traumatizing televised murders of Black people, and most recently the disappointing grand jury indictment of Officer Brett Hankison, one of three Louisville police officers who fired into Breonna Taylor’s home and shot her to death.
To be selected for People For’s “Stop Police Killings” candidate slate, hundreds of applicants answered questions about their personal experiences that motivated them to stop police violence, and questions about their positions on: practices that limit unnecessary police contact, psychological screenings for police officers, removing problematic officers, recruiting good officers, and reallocating police budgets, cultural competency and de-escalation training among other issues of concern.
“Stop Police Killings” Slate highlights below:
Yassamin Ansari, candidate for Phoenix City Council District 7, AZ, would be the first Iranian-American elected to public office in Phoenix and believes that Black Lives Matter, and that the practices of our institutions—including law enforcement—should reflect that.
Jevin Hodge, candidate for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors District 1, AZ, is passionate about ending the number of private prisons in Maricopa County.
Whitney Walker, candidate for Maricopa County Supervisor, District 3, is a social justice advocate who will use her supervisorial duties to oversee the police department in Phoenix, which is plagued with the third highest rate of police killings based on population.
Devin Murphy, candidate for Pinole City Council, CA, cites criminal justice reform and prison abolition as his life’s work.
Yadira Caraveo, (incumbent) candidate for State House District 31, CO, remembers how her brother experienced violence from private security forces, and has witnessed police violence in a pediatrician clinic.
David Ortiz is running for Colorado State Representative, District 38, and is an Army combat veteran and Latino community advocate who will advocate for structural changes to policing.
Marvin Lim, candidate for Georgia State House, District 99, is a civil rights lawyer who has worked with the ACLU on policing issues and with BLM on stand your ground laws.
Nimasheena Burns, candidate for Durham County Commissioner, suffered a devastating personal loss as a child when violent police officers claimed her uncle’s life, and is committed to working toward solutions to ending police violence.
Natalie Murdock, candidate for North Carolina State Senate, District 20, is outspoken about her experiences interacting with police as a Black woman and is a strong advocate for a variety of progressive policy changes.
Brandon Scott, candidate for Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, grew up dealing firsthand with police violence and is committed to pushing forward progressive policies to end police violence in Baltimore.
Mauree Turner, candidate for Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 88, would be the first Muslim woman ever elected to public office in Oklahoma and has known since college that she wanted to dedicate her life to criminal justice reform.
Rick Krajewski, who is running for Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 188, was motivated to run so that he could help make changes to the justice system, as he lives in one of the most heavily police-patrolled neighborhoods in Philadelphia.
Greg Casar, (incumbent) is a candidate for Austin City Councilmember, District 4, TX, used his position to reallocate nearly $150 million dollars from Austin’s Police Department budget toward community health and human services.
José Garza, candidate for Travis County District Attorney, progressive reforms he would like to make if elected and has noted that even in the most progressive county in Texas, POC are frequently killed by police.
Christian Menefee, candidate for Harris County Attorney, Texas, is a lawyer and longtime advocate against police violence who is running to become the youngest and first African American Harris County Attorney.
Brian Rowland, candidate for Mayor of Prairie View Texas, has witnessed it first hand-- a personal friend was killed by police and it was caught on tape by the Live PD television show.
Tamara Shewmake, candidate for Portsmouth City Council, Virginia, has worked with District Attorney Stephanie Morales’s prosecuting team during a trial for an officer that killed a Black teen.
About the Next Up Victory Fund
PFAW’s Next Up Victory Fund helps young progressive candidates age 40 and under win races for state and local offices across the country. Next Up is building a deep bench of progressive candidates well positioned to control state legislatures, win statewide, and run for federal offices in the years and decades to come. Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org/next-up-
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org.