July 8, 2016
WASHINGTON – A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF), released the following statement in the aftermath of this week’s shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas that resulted in the deaths of two African Americans and five police officers, with nine wounded including two private citizens.
“My heart has been heavy this week, as I reflect on the shootings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas.
“Once again our nation’s consciousness has been raised by the repeated acts of senseless violence this week in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and communities impacted by these horrific incidents. Certainly, the pain of these families and the community at large are felt by all of us. As I watched the news and heard the stories of each of the five policemen and two private citizens killed this week and their families, I realized that their stories do much more than touch our hearts, they continue the conversations about violence in our nation.
“These tragedies serve as the latest reminders to all of us that when we fail to talk with, understand, and care for one another; our prejudices and anger take over. We need conversations, certainly, but we also need a plan for sensible gun control to reduce the possibility of violence against the innocent.
“We need proactive policies and action to bring about changes that enable people to feel safe and that the police can still be trusted. In some places, the trust remains, but it is fragile. In others, it no longer exists even when the majority of police serve their communities well.
“Gun violence reflects existing social inequalities, and also makes it more challenging for young black people, especially young black men, to dismantle systemic barriers of pervasive prejudice and generational poverty. We must use our voices as policy makers, law enforcement officials, community activists, and individual citizens to call for an end to all of the violence. It is up to us, and only us, to fix the problems that have been created and eliminate the violence that is corrosive to a healthy and stable society.
“It is every person and every community’s responsibility to eliminate prejudice and bitter intolerance that gives root to these horrendous acts. Let’s continue to keep the families, friends and communities of those slain this week in our hearts and prayers.”