Statement of Stevie Valles, National Campaigns Director of the Bus Federation regarding recent police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling:
Today, like on many days before, America woke to hear of yet another non-threatening unarmed black person fatally shot by a police officer. As a black man growing up in this country, I have dealt with almost every emotion imaginable when it comes to the police – admiration, fear, hatred, and sadness, to name a few.
The feeling that has bothered me the most is that because of the color of my skin I have never looked at cops as a primary source of protection; and due to the way my demographic is portrayed in the media, many cops don’t view me as an equal citizen deserving of their protection – but rather as a potential criminal who intends to kill, hurt, rob, or cause pain.
I am proud to work at an organization that is very diverse and understands the importance of making sure every voice is heard. As a network, The Bus Federation, stands in solidarity with the families of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and all African Americans today. We publicly acknowledge the injustices that plague black communities and applaud you for your resilience and your ability to climb above the insurmountable barriers that have been stacked against you.
We will continue to work on making sure local laws around policing, the legal system, and prosecutors are structured in a way that diminishes any and all biases. Through the work of our young leaders we will aim to create a system of law enforcement that judges based on character instead of characteristics.
Most importantly, we will continue to ensure that we not only stand with, and support you, but we prioritize giving you real power within our organization, and are in the driving seat of the change needed in your communities.
We encourage our allies in this movement to stand with and support black-led organizing efforts around the country today and to use this opportunity to engage and educate their friends and co-workers about the need for racial justice in this country.
The Bus Federation believes young people have the power to change the world. We support and scale the work of grassroots, youth-led organizations. Our nine local Affiliates have recently secured important victories advancing automatic voter registration, funding for schools and mass transit, LGBTQ equality, and a more safe and just society.