July 16, 2020
Western Resource Advocates stands in solidarity with those speaking out against systemic racism, oppression, and police violence, and we echo their calls for action. Black lives matter, and the continued killing of Black and Brown Americans at the hands of police who act with impunity is horrifying, it is criminal, and it must be urgently addressed.
Black people in America and across the West are subjected to higher rates of police violence. This is unacceptable, and we all have a responsibility to address these systemic injustices. WRA supports the efforts of our communities, legislators, and partners to confront policy brutality.
- As an organization founded in Colorado, we proudly endorsed Colorado Senate Bill 20-217, the Law Enforcement Integrity Act, which passed the Legislature on June 12. This bill is an important step toward addressing systemic injustices and ensuring that no community lives in fear of the police. WRA also signed onto ProgressNow-Colorado’s petition condemning police violence and calling on the Legislature to take action to reduce police violence against African Americans and other people of color in Colorado.
- In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently announced the formation of the Council for Racial Justice, which will be composed of several Black community leaders. We also supported a bill, which passed the Legislature on June 22, to mandate police body cameras. This is a step toward ensuring law enforcement accountability.
- In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert signed an executive order prohibiting chokeholds on people in custody. This comes shortly after Salt Lake City police banned chokeholds and the use of tear gas.
- And in Nevada, we supported legislation signed in August by Governor Steve Sisolak that banned the use of chokeholds by law enforcement and partially repealed a 2019 law that offered special protection to police officers accused of misconduct.
Our advocacy on police reform in our region is just one important step our organization is taking to confront systemic racism and injustice in our communities. We are committed to doing more, including listening to, supporting and amplifying the voices of our partners who are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color across the states in which we work.
Western Resource Advocates is committed to creating an organization – and contributing to a larger conservation movement – that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive of people from all backgrounds. Our team should reflect the communities in which we work and live, and we are taking steps toward that goal.
Additionally, we know environmental justice and racial justice go hand in hand. As a conservation organization, we will continue working to ensure all communities, especially marginalized communities, have clean air, clean water, safe and equitable access to the outdoors, and a healthier future, and we will continue working to improve our allyship.