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The Weeknd, Lizzo, John Legend and more sign open letter calling for police defunding

The letter urges local government to direct more funds toward public health and education instead.

The Weeknd / Lizzo / John Legend Shutterstock / Getty / WireImage

In response to nationwide police brutality protests and the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the Movement 4 Black Lives coalition has released an open letter, urging local governments to decrease police department funding and instead allocate more money to public health, community programs and education.

The letter was shared on Tuesday (June 2) by Patrisse Cullors, who co-founded Black Lives Matter and is a founding member of the Movement 4 Black Lives. According to Rolling Stone, The Weeknd, Common, John Legend, Lizzo, Taraji P. Henson, Talib Kweli, America Ferrera and more have already contributed their signatures to the movement.

“Despite continued profiling, harassment, terror and killing of Black communities, local and federal decision-makers continue to invest in the police, which leaves Black people vulnerable and our communities no safer,” the letter reads, also acknowledging the recent deaths of Floyd, Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Dreasjon Reed and Tony McDade.

“Where could that money go? It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future,” the letter continues.

The letter also brought attention to the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on African Americans and the inequalities in healthcare access the pandemic has highlighted.

The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other,” is reads. “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.”

Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets,” it continues. “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 US Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs.’”

See a post from Movement 4 Black Lives below and get involved in the coalition here.

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