Honorable Loretta Lynch
United States Attorney General
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Lynch:
Let me start by saying how glad I am you’re here.
I know it is no coincidence that as the first Black woman (and the second woman ever) to occupy the position of U.S. attorney general, you made history just in time to join us for what many are calling the Civil Rights Movement of the 21st century.
Ms. Lynch, I don’t need to tell you that things are jacked up for Black people right now. You name an issue and we’re struggling—mass incarceration, the suppression of voting rights, the school-to-prison pipeline, housing discrimination. It’s enough to make folks want to throw in the towel, though they would not dare.
But virtually nowhere are our circumstances more pressing than in the literally life-or-death relations we have with police.
On the heels of the first anniversary of Ferguson, the still fuzzy circumstances around the death of Sandra Bland and the random, senseless shooting of yet another innocent Black man, Cincinnati’s Samuel DuBose, we are reminded each and every day just how much #BlackLivesDon’tMatter, and we’re hurt, scared for our kids and scared for ourselves. Being constantly fearful is no way to live in the “Land of the Free.”
Just last week, a woman claims she was sexually violated in public by police in Texas—a state whose authorities, like Florida’s and others—are out of control, which leads me to the point of this letter.
Ms. Attorney General, while we understand that you’re literally still just weeks into your new role, with all due respect, there are changes that must be made to our justice system right now. Chief among them is federal oversight into our nation’s police forces. As Carmen Perez, executive director of Harry Belafonte’s organization, the Gathering for Justice, constantly explains, having no federal mandate on police accountability is hurting us and is one of the core issues that allows such tragedies to continue happening. States and cities need to know there are consequences for unjustified police killings and that the Justice Department will swoop down swiftly and surely to prosecute them over matters of police misconduct and the violation of civil rights.
Although we have heard you and others say there’s “just so much” the Justice Department can do with its limited resources and manpower in matters such as these, we refuse to accept it. If your goal is to expand the department’s reach and its resources, we pledge to work with you to make it happen. All we are asking in return is that you exercise every power you have to save us. Fight for the allocation of resources in the areas where they are most critical, including police body cameras and police/community relations programs.
Ms. Lynch, we believe you have our best interest at heart and that you desire to provide justice for all American citizens, regardless and inclusive of race and creed, and we want to trust you. In turn, we will do our part to make your job easier, including working with the community to push for policy changes and cultural shifts. We need you and we need you now.
Yours in Power,
Tamika D. Mallory
National Organizer and Board Member, the Gathering for Justice