Neighborhood Network

June 3, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

George Floyd’s death in Minnesota was a homicide. It was wrong and has caused the country and our community to face hard truths. Not everyone feels safe. Not everyone is safe.

In this historic moment, we face a pandemic and protests for justice. Lawlessness undermines the voices of those betrayed by a system that marginalizes and oppresses them.

Tomorrow, the Austin City Council will discuss the police department’s response to last weekend’s demonstrations. There were unfortunate incidents and injuries, but the community deserves a pragmatic and thoughtful discussion. Demands by social justice groups to reduce police funding are dangerous and put us all at risk.

The city council needs to hear from those who support both the Austin Police Department and reform. I think that’s a view held by most in our community.

Please call and email the mayor and city council today. Tell them you support Chief Brian Manley and 1,793 police officers who are keeping us safe under extraordinary circumstances.

And it’s not just police officers safeguarding our city. Firefighters and medics face danger to keep the peace.

Chief Brian Manley and the Austin Police Department have confronted challenges before and worked with the community. He is committed to reform, and much has been done. Social justice activists criticize it as not enough or too slow. Chief Manley faces problems head-on, whether it was the bombings two years ago or disciplining misconduct in the ranks.

Criminal acts and violence aren’t how we solve problems, but neither is apathy. That’s why the Greater Austin Crime Commission has pledged to continue working with criminal justice reform, neighborhood, and social justice groups to find solutions. It’s a commitment to action, not just talking.

What can you do? Call and email the Austin City Council today. Ask your family and friends to join the Neighborhood Network. Please take part in the constructive discussion this summer and join our call for decisive action.

Austin has a long tradition of community engagement, which includes peaceful protests and rallies. Looting is not protected speech. Vandalism is a distraction from the hard work ahead.

Austin needs justice and peace.