(AllHipHop News) John Legend, Common, and Lizzo are among the stars who have signed an open letter urging local governments to ‘defund’ police departments and give more to healthcare and education.
Jane Fonda, Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Brie Larson, Taraji P. Henson, and The Weeknd have also added their names to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors’ letter addressing abundant funds for policing versus the lack of cash available for hospitals and medical centers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 deaths and the deaths caused by police terror are connected and consequential to each other,” the letter reads. “The United States does not have a national healthcare system. Instead, we have the largest military budget in the world, and some of the most well-funded and militarized police departments in the world, too.
“Policing and militarization overwhelmingly dominate the bulk of national and local budgets. In fact, police and military funding has increased every single year since 1973, and at the same time, funding for public health decreased every year, crystallized most recently when the Trump administration eliminated the U.S. Pandemic Response Team in 2018, citing ‘costs’.”
In the letter, Cullors reveals state and local government spending on police and corrections jumped from $60 billion to $194 billion between 1977 and 2017, insisting that money could be better spent: “It could go towards building healthy communities, to the health of our elders and children, to neighborhood infrastructure, to education, to childcare, to support a vibrant Black future. The possibilities are endless.”