Washington, D.C. (July 8, 2016) — The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center mourns the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police this week, and calls for immediate and urgent reforms to U.S. law enforcement.
SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh stated, “Excessive and brutal police force against the African American community in the United States has been an urgent epidemic sustained over decades. The murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have come into public consciousness now through the new power of social media, the hard work of the Black Lives Matter movement, and decades of Black-led civil rights activism that came before. The Southeast Asian American community has also been impacted disproportionately by the criminal justice system, and we stand in strong solidarity with our African American brothers and sisters to seek justice for victims of excessive force and to transform the way our communities are policed to prevent further unnecessary loss of life.”
SEARAC also condemns the shooting of 12 officers, five of whom have died, during an otherwise peaceful rally in Dallas last night to protest the deaths of Sterling and Castile. We remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” These shootings by one individual must not be used to discredit the movement against excessive use of police force and the movement for valuing and protecting black lives. People of color must not be targeted because of the color of their skin, just as police must not be targeted because of their profession.
We call for immediate action by national, state, and local officials to make deep changes to the training (in implicit bias and de-escalation), oversight (by independent and civilian review boards), and accountability of our police forces. We also send our deepest condolences to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the officers killed in Dallas, and the over 530 other individuals killed by police so far in 2016.
SEARAC is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society. Find out more at www.searac.org.