Some of entertainment’s biggest names have signed an open letter urging local governments to decrease police budgets and redirect those funds to education, health care, and other community programs.
The letter, which was released by Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter and a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives, in response to the murder of George Floyd has received signatures from Lizzo, Talib Kweli, Natalie Portman, Jane Fonda, Taraji P. Henson, John Legend, The Weeknd, Common, and others.
“The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other. The United States does not have a national healthcare system. Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too,” the letter states in part. “Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs.'”
The powerful open letter also urges others to participate in the defunding movement by texting “DEFUND” to 90975.
“Vote no on all increases to police budgets; Vote yes to decrease police spending and budgets; and Vote yes to increase spending on Health care, Education, and Community programs that keep us safe.”