MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Margaret Huang, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Poverty Law Center, issued the below statement following the recent string of killings of Black people across the country:
“The SPLC joins our allies in condemning the recent police killings of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Sean Reed and Breonna Taylor. Following the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery by a former police officer, the impact of these murders reaches across the country, and there must be accountability. It is absolutely imperative that local police departments and district attorneys investigate, arrest and prosecute officers and all who violate the rights of the people who live in the communities they are charged to serve. Equally important, law enforcement must stop responding to peaceful protest of police killings with more violence. Police are obligated to protect those in the community, and punishing peaceful protest is a gross abuse of human rights.
“We stand with millions of people across the country who are rightfully outraged by the killing of unarmed Black people, the lack of responsiveness, the lack of action and President Trump calling for violence against those demanding justice for Mr. Floyd’s death.
“Since our founding, the SPLC has researched and documented acts of hate, white supremacy and violence against Black people. Over nearly 50 years, we have called out acts of extremism and denounced those who espouse hate against others because of their identity. Today, we urge law enforcement and governments to join our efforts and call out white supremacy and acts of violence against Black people and other communities of color. For too long, we have seen police officers, local prosecutors, judges and juries perpetuate the violence against Black people through repeated failure to hold law enforcement officers responsible for their actions. We need to do more than condemn the violence; we need the killing to stop.
“The SPLC commits to doing everything within our power to dismantle structural anti-Black racism within our criminal justice system, call out hate and extremism and stand with community members directly impacted by oppressive systems.”