June 24th, 2020
The massive uprising since the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd — and now Rayshard Brooks — has featured millions of people throughout the U.S. and around the world surging through the streets to demand police accountability and justice for the victims of police violence, and challenge the structural racism and inequality that have haunted our past and dominate our present. African-Americans and people of color have been criminalized by a racist system of policing that denies to communities of the poor, brown, and black people their humanity and dignity.
“This country was founded on racial terror,” notes the PSC statement of June 5th on the murder of George Floyd. The John Jay Chapter of the PSC embraces this statement, which also calls out the persistent underfunding of CUNY as another aspect of the ‘racist disinvestment’ in public services that has paralleled the massive ‘overfunding’ of police forces around the nation. These drastic funding inequities normalize structural racism and economic inequality, fostering the militarization of police forces, who also now have such extra-policing responsibilities as managing the homeless, the mentally ill, the destitute, and securing public transit, given the withdrawal of public support for essential community services. We stand with our students and our members who have engaged in street actions and protest against racism, and been met with brutal overpolicing. We support the demand for redirecting significant funding away from militarized policing and toward the provision of resources and public services to our underfunded communities, as a first step to combat inequality. We also hold that current calls for a fundamental revisioning and transformation of policing must be heeded and that such transformation is long overdue.
John Jay College’s legacy of supporting police reform puts it in a unique position to contribute to change policing practices, particularly given the college’s mission of ‘Educating for Justice.’ We call upon all our John Jay colleagues to engage with the demands of the black and brown people — many of them black women — who are the leaders of the movement in the streets, to push the college for the full involvement of its faculties and institutes in transforming policing and allied criminal justice systems, as well as for the dismantling of the structures within policing that serve to maintain racist practices and forms of behavior in the NYPD and elsewhere. This is particularly crucial in this period, when armed white supremacists and racists are increasingly emboldened by an anti-democratic Trump administration that has shown overwhelming support for white nationalists.
Lastly, we stand in solidarity with the June 2nd joint statement of the Departments of Africana Studies and Latin American and Latinx Studies, and especially wish to endorse and reaffirm their insistence that “John Jay College and CUNY must resolve and take action to maintain diversity among students, advance diversity among the ranks of faculty and administrators, and support a diverse curricula and educational equity on our campus and campuses across the university.” We hold that such action, led by the faculty and professional staff, with CUNY students, alongside a real transformation of policing, can help assure the future of CUNY and of the courses that our students need to pursue their education and to graduate.
John Jay Chapter
Professional Staff Congress