Sheridan Hollow Alliance for Renewable Energy (SHARE) stands in solidarity with protesters in Albany, Minneapolis, New York City, across the nation and across the world who demand an end of police violence that is terrorizing Black communities and communities of color.
We demand justice for George Floyd, a beloved Black man who was brutally murdered and publicly lynched by the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25. We call for the full prosecution of all police officers involved in this heinous act, for reparations to the family and the community, and for an end to militarized policing.
What happened to Eric Garner, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and countless others are not anomalies. Incidents of police violence happen every day and can be found in communities that we live in.
On June 2, Kimani Addison was brutalized by Albany Police during a Black Lives Matter rally while attempting to video tape another police arrest. The officers dragged Addison to the ground and held his legs while others pinned his arms and back and tased him in the stomach. Addison said he was punched multiple times once officers had him on the ground. At one point an officer kneeled on his head or neck for several seconds. Addison said he feared for his life.
Our country has criminalized being Black. In the name of “public safety” the justice system is wielded as a weapon to terrorize our friends, family and neighbors. Police brutality is part of the same system that leads to more Black and Brown people dying or being hospitalized with Covid-19, suffering from asthma and cancer caused by environmental degradation of their communities, and having their lives disrupted by climate destruction such as superstorms such as Sandy and Irene.
Sheridan Hollow has suffered from environmental racism since 1911 when a steam plant was built on Sheridan Avenue to heat government buildings in Albany. Since then the plant has polluted the community by burning coal, oil and fracked gas. Later, during the 80s and 90’s, the notorious ANSWERS garbage incinerator on Sheridan Avenue spewed toxic ash into the community, leading to high rates of cancer and asthma.
Police brutality and environmental degradation of Black communities are part of an economic and social system that’s rooted in racism and extracts wealth and resources from Black bodies and Black communities with impunity. It is the struggle against this system – to reimagine and transform it – that drives the work we do in SHARE.
There can be no environmental justice without racial justice. We must completely flip the narrative of what public safety looks like and means from one based on punishment violence, environmental degradation and climate destruction, to one that values Black lives and our planet. As we recover from our public health crisis, we must build a new economy that does not depend on profits at the expense of people and the planet. And we must ensure that the people and communities most affected benefit most from recovery efforts.