Statement by CFT president Joshua Pechthalt

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 25, 2014

Statement by CFT president Joshua Pechthalt

A grand jury’s decision on Monday not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the August killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown adds one more layer of evidence that the justice system in this country does not serve communities of color or poor people. Fifty years after the historic Civil Rights Act was passed, the police continue to act as judge, jury and executioner when it comes to people of color, and the courts seem either slow or altogether incapable of delivering justice.

The killing of Michael Brown and that of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Cleveland police officers are part of an unfortunate reality understood by African American families in this country that when it comes to confrontations with the police, there is apparently no margin of error.

While nothing can be done to bring back Michael Brown or Tamir Rice, we can take action. A national dialogue on racism and the criminal justice system is necessary, but we need more. We need a Marshall Plan for America that invests in education, creates good-paying jobs, provides services and offers real hope in communities that have been ravaged by poverty and racism.

Without a real commitment to alleviate economic disparity and expose the deep roots of racism in our society, the tragedy of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and others will sadly be repeated.

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The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 education employees, from Head Start through the University of California. It is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO