As the Far West chapters of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. meet in Portland this week through July 10, the sorority released this statement on the killings of Black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis and the shootings of police officers in Dallas.
The National Executive Committee, National Executive Board and members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. are deeply saddened, concerned and disturbed by the immediate events involving African American citizens (Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile) and law enforcement (Michael Krol, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, and two additional slain officers whose names have yet to be released) over the past week in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.
Our hearts and our communities have not fully healed from the unjustified deaths of countless African American men and women while in police custody within the last three years. Yet today, we find ourselves mourning the deaths of citizens and law enforcement alike.
Our country is reeling, once again, from the aftermath of deaths resulting from police shootings. Once again, each senseless shooting leaves respective communities in turmoil while the world looks on helplessly and our legislators standby watching the inhumane treatment of the very people they vowed and were elected to protect.
Once again, critics vilify the citizenry who call for greater accountability, and scrutiny of police enforcement policies that disproportionately result in the deaths of African Americans.
“I am certain there are no words that could adequately comfort the families of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and the five officers killed in Dallas, but we do offer our condolences and prayers to them and everyone affected by the senseless loss of innocent lives,” said Dr. Paulette C. Walker, National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
“It is our hope and prayer that their deaths will not be in vain and will ignite and expedite the much needed change in gun laws and policing policies that could have prevented another family from losing a father.”
Despite our shared frustrations and as an organization that has long been in the vanguard of advocating for fairness and justice, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. joins other organizations across the nation in urging the citizens of Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas and all who support them to remain calm and to keep the lines of communication between citizens and authorities open.
Engaging in violence will harm the citizens of these cities, dilute the credibility and true power of the community, and hinder efforts toward meaningful progress.
Delta Sigma Theta also urges its membership to peacefully advocate in every city, town, and hamlet for: improved training of law enforcement personnel; local independent review boards; and at the federal level, petition the Justice Department to aggressively prosecute unwarranted police shootings as criminal violations of victims’ civil rights - regardless of race, sex, or religion.
We also call for the repair of community and law enforcement trust; the passing of commonsense gun safety reforms; immediate implementation of pending gun violence prevention measures; and police accountability..
Although Delta Sigma Theta always has, still does, and will continue to support every member’s interest and right to participate in organized non-violent activities and marches that denounce social injustices in our communities, we must focus on using our power at the ballot box and in the halls of all levels of government to bring about the change needed to stop these senseless atrocities.
“We are the change agent to bring forth a new paradigm shift. Let us march to the polls on Election Day, November 8, to exercise our voice and our right to be heard across the nation, stressing that enough is enough,” said Dr. Walker.