Take Action on Policing Reform

Urgent Policing Reforms Needed Today! 

House and Senate members have introduced urgent and meaningful policing reforms, and we can raise our voices in support of these needed reforms. Congress must hear from us!

The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon (Sean) Reed and George Floyd by police officers and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery by the son of a retired police officer who was also present in pursuing Arbery have brought the discrimination and violence experienced by black and brown Americans at the hands of law enforcement to the forefront of our nation’s awareness, once again.

The ELCA's social policy resolution, "Condemnation of White Supremacy and Racist Rhetoric," adopted by the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, states: "As persons called to love one another as God has loved us, we therefore proclaim our commitment to speak with one voice against racism and white supremacy. We stand with those who are targets of racist ideologies and actions. With them, we demand and will advocate for a more just, loving, and peaceful world where the gifts of all people are appreciated, and the lives of all people are treasured. "

Although policing is only one area of society that needs to be addressed, we are in a moment now where there is a bipartisan urgency and will to do so.

The ELCA was among over 400 organizations that sent a letter on June 8th to House and Senate leadership on federal policing priorities. Eight legislative measures "to ensure that police officers live up to their oath to protect and serve" were identified and are summarized below. Similar themes are identified through the "8 Can't Wait" practices introduced by Campaign Zero, a police reform effort in affirmation of Black Lives Matter advanced by the 2016 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

  1. Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options and incentivize states through federal funding mechanisms to implement this standard.
  2. Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force.
  3. Prohibit racial profiling and require robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities.
  4. Eliminate federal programs that provide military equipment to law enforcement.
  5. Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants.
  6. Permit prosecutors to successfully hold law enforcement accountable for the deprivation of civil rights and civil liberties.
  7. Develop a national public database that would cover all police agencies in the United States and its territories, similar to the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training’s National Decertification Index.
  8. End the qualified immunity doctrine, which prevents police from being held legally accountable when they break the law.

“Because we are sinners as well as saints, we rebuild walls broken down by Christ. We fall back into enslaving patterns of injustice. We betray the truth that sets us free. Because we are saints as well as sinners, we reach for the freedom that is ours in Christ,” says the ELCA social statement, "Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture."

Expand this “Message to Congress” with your own words. Ask Congress to act toward a just society that treasures the lives of all. Personalize points with your own experiences and faith-based convictions to insist on the changes to policing policy possible at the federal level.

Congress must hear from us!

Send your legislators CUSTOMIZED letter below to illustrate your specific concerns today. Remember: The more you tailor this message to your specific community, the more influence it will carry!

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

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Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]