We Support Greater Justice for All
Cindy Marie Absey and Ann Havlik, Co-Presidents LWV SLOCO
Nationwide protests against racism and widespread calls for criminal justice reform have touched communities across America, including San Luis Obispo County. We have seen activists take to the streets, at times clashing with law enforcement when first amendment rights and public safety concerns were not peacefully resolved. How do we, as a League and League members, respond to these major events and impassioned discussions?
As a way to begin, the counsel of LWVUS President Deborah Ann Turner can guide us as she discusses how the League’s national, state and local positions on public safety, criminal justice and social policy can help inform how we engage with advocacy groups and support local efforts to achieve greater justice for all.
Excerpt from LWVUS President Deborah Ann Turner’s July 30, 2020 Update
It is important for us to explore the ways in which we can ensure that all voices are heard as we move forward. The voices of many Americans—particularly women of color—are still not heard in choosing their representation. As our nation’s demographics change, diversity, equity, and inclusion in the electoral process have never been more important to ensure fair representation.
This brings me to an important conversation that many people are having about defunding the police in light of the continued violence against Black communities. We have heard from several Leagues looking for guidance around the issue of defunding the police and wanting to be good allies to Black Lives Matter and other organizations on the issue of racial justice. This movement and message mean very different things for communities across the country, and even the phrase ‘defund the police’ has different meanings for people inside and outside the racial justice movement.
Because police budgets are localized and the cry to ‘defund the police’ means different things in different communities, it would not be appropriate for the national office to take a position on this issue. State and local Leagues can use existing League positions to formulate a localized stance on the subject. Our positions on militarization of federal forces, human rights, and civil rights can be applied to issues like police brutality or the militarization of cities with the presence of federal troops we have seen. For some communities, the desire to remove police officers from schools could relate to our positions on education and mental health.
We empower Leagues to take positions based on our existing policies as it relates to your community and conversations with local partners in the racial justice movement.
League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose candidates or political parties.
The League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County has been Making Democracy Work since 1961 and is a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All dues and donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.