Next Tuesday (Nov. 3) is election day. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE! No matter the results of this election, we will have work to do in our ongoing fight for Black Lives and racial justice.

Content Warning: This email discusses recent police violence and murder.

Dear District 5 for ,

We are horrified and deeply saddened by the news of another Black man killed by police in our country. On Monday night, Walter Wallace Jr. was experiencing a mental health crisis. His family called an ambulance for medical help. Instead of providing expert medical care, the police escalated the situation and as a result, shot and killed Walter while his mother cried for them to stop.

(Photo Credit: Patrisse Cullors, Black Lives Matter Global Network)

This is not Philadelphia’s Problem. This is an Austin problem.

  • A 2018 City of Austin audit report found that “people experiencing a mental health crisis in Austin may be at higher risk of having a negative police interaction
  • In 2019, a study conducted at the University of Texas Law School found that Austin has the highest per capita rate of fatal mental health-related police shootings among the largest 15 cities in the U.S.
  • In a response to APD’s use of force when responding to mental health calls, Assistant City Manager Rey Arellano wrote that the majority of these incidents occur “along IH-35 and in East Austin in densely populated areas that include people of color who are living in poverty” (2019, p. 20).

This is why we have to completely change our approach to public safety. Policing doesn’t work as it has a disproportionate and unjust impact on the Black community, as well as other communities of color.

In the coming days, we ask you to honor Walter Wallace Jr. and keep his family and children close to your heart. We also ask that you take action in the continued fight to end these senseless acts of police violence.

  • Email CM Kitchen to create policies to ensure that ALL mental health calls are diverted to trauma-informed mental health responders who can and will respond without the police.
  • Volunteerwith us and join our efforts to end police violence in Austin.
  • Follow and re-share our Twitter and Instagrampoststo stay informed and take action on local issues of racial justice.  

We know the coming days will continue to be filled with anxiety and anticipation in this divisive election season. For more conversation and support, please join our (moderated) Facebook Group HERE.

In Solidarity,

District 5 for Black Lives Organizing Team