pascoAll Prosecuting Attorneys are not created the same.  Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby took a stand against police brutality and decided to prosecute the obvious suspects.   Violence seems to be rampant in our country, and we need elected officials to take a stand against it.  It appears that Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Governor Inslee have so far decided not to appoint a special prosecutor in Pasco to deal with the killings by police.  Maybe the local prosecutors can in fact mount an effective and objective investigation.

On Friday, six Baltimore police officers were criminally charged in the death of Freddie Gray. The charges, from second-degree murder to assault, are significant not just for the potential justice they represent but for the way in which Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced them:

“To the people of Baltimore and the demonstrators across America. I heard your call for “no justice, no peace.” Your peace is sincerely needed as I work to deliver justice on behalf of this young man… To the youth of this city: I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment, this is your moment. Let’s ensure that we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You’re at the forefront of this cause. And as young people, our time is now.”As our friends at ColorOfChange expressed in reaction to Mosby’s announcement, “this is a big deal. Local prosecutors almost never hold local law enforcement accountable and Mosby’s leadership in this moment should be greatly applauded.”

While this good news is welcome, it is a relatively brief moment of relief for a community that has been continually crushed under the oppression of structural racism that has fueled decades of police harassment and violence as well as income inequality.

Because Democracy for America believes that supporting social movements led by those directly impacted by injustice is the most meaningful pathway to achieve progressive social change that is sustainable and transformative, we are joining our friends at CREDO and asking our members to financially support Baltimore United for Change, a coalition that includes the Baltimore Algebra Project, Baltimore BLOC, Casa De Maryland, City BLOC, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and the Tyrone West Coalition.
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In moments such as these, the tendency — as President Obama rightly noted a few days ago — is for the media and politicians to “feign concern until it goes away and we just go about our business as usual.” We can’t let that happen in Baltimore — just as we can’t let it happen in Ferguson or any number of other communities across the country facing similar challenges.

Because, while bringing criminal charges against these six officers is a big step forward in this particular moment, it does very little to address the longer-term criminalization and mass incarceration of black people in Baltimore — driven by a deeper, entrenched structural racism that denies people jobs with dignity, meaningful education, and quality housing.

The problems that plague Baltimore also plague the rest of our country — especially in areas in which the political and economic system conspires to systematically discriminate and marginalize communities of color. As E.J. Dionne wrote in the Washington Post on Wednesday, “since at least the 1970s, the economy’s invisible hand has also been diligently stripping tens of thousands of blue-collar jobs from what was once a bustling workshop where steel, cars and planes were made. Baltimore has tried to do its best in a post-industrial economy, but when work disappears, the results can be catastrophic.

At DFA, we are deeply committed to organizing our members to fight income inequality, from City Council battles to raise the minimum wage and congressional campaigns to solve the student debt crisis and expand Social Security to holding corporations and political candidates accountable for using their power in the pursuit of economic justice. This commitment includes supporting local organizations — like the coalition represented by Baltimore United for Change — that work day-in and day-out in communities across America to fight for fairness, overcome discrimination, and achieve justice — and the peace that can accompany it.

Thank you so much for standing in solidarity with the people of Baltimore.

– Charles

Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director
Democracy for America

P.S. If you know friends and family who are looking for a meaningful way to contribute, please also share this message with them. Thanks.