There are many ways to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the people of Minneapolis who are seeking justice and reform. Here in Orange County, you can do your part to seek real, effective, and long-lasting reform and empowerment for all, especially our Black communities and other marginalized groups.
For too long, we have allowed local and state leaders to succumb to police lobbying. According to CheckthePolice.org, “police unions and associations spent $2 million paying lobbyists to influence legislation in California in 2017 – nine times more than the NRA spent on lobbyists that year” and “Democratic legislators also received more money overall from police associations than Republicans did.”
As a result, California has some of the least progressive laws regarding police accountability. For example, California is:
- one of only three states with a specific law making police misconduct records secret
- one of five states with laws that do not allow the state to revoke a police officer’s certification due to misconduct
- one of fourteen states that has a “police bill of rights” law conferring special protections to police officers under investigation for misconduct
Need information about who your local, state, and federal officials are and how to contact them? Use this search tool!
Actions to take to help reduce the influence of police lobbyists:
- Ask your local, state, and federal officials to donate any police union campaign donations that they have received to bail funds and mutual aid organizations and to publicly commit to rejecting these funds in the future. Call, email, and tweet at them.
- Stop valuing endorsements by police unions and associations for local and state candidates. Candidates (even Democratic ones) are seeking the political power of those endorsements and are more willing to empower the police with generous contracts and less restrictions on their conduct.
- Call your local officials (city councilmembers, mayors, county supervisors, state legislators, etc.) and tell them to reprioritize their budgets: Reduce funding for police and invest those funds in resources people need, especially for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color. This is in support of the asks of local Black-led organizations like Reclaim the Block and national Black-led organizations like Movement for Black Lives, which are demanding that local governments commit to cutting funding for the police and investing it in Black community-led education, health and safety programs (such as funding for schools and youth homelessness services, solutions to the opioid crisis, and non-police responders for crises such as mental health response teams and community violence prevention programs). You can use this tool from Common Cause to get the contact info for your local officials.
- Demand and elect a district attorney that will prosecute the police for abuse and violence. Question whether they will hold police departments accountable for their conduct and if they have the courage to reject the influence of the police lobby.
- Call state legislators and Governor Newsom to increase police accountability, reform use of force rules, expand definitions of misconduct, and require civilian oversight boards for every department.