Statement from the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) on Police Violence, Human Rights Abuses, and Racial Oppression Against Black Americans

For eight straight days, cities across our nation have erupted in pain and fear, gathering to ask when the injustice will end. Our nation is not crying out because of this single act of violence. Our nation is crying out because hundreds of years of oppression, systemic racism, police brutality, and human rights abuse on Black America makes eight days of outrage seem short.

After World War II, the U.S. led efforts to create the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document meant to serve as a global roadmap for freedom and equality, protecting rights of everyone, everywhere. But we haven’t lived up to this ideal. Human rights are not guaranteed for black people in America. In many cases, they are actively oppressed, overlooked, and denied. As a country that is supposed to be a leader on the world stage, this is our most dangerous shortcoming.

The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA)’s advocates work continuously to uphold human rights and expose racial injustice everywhere, not just over the past eight days but over the past 75 years. Our movement is built on the stories of our UNA-USA members and our mission is guided by their actions. We call upon our members, advocates and allies to demand our systems be changed. We will voice these demands to leaders at every level, from our city council to the White House.

U.S. human rights violations are on display, for all the world to see. Our flawed systems, built on oppression and deeply rooted in racism, are exposed. It’s up to all of us to determine whether this moment becomes a turning point in history. We need to move forward with a commitment to use our voices, our stories, our ballots, and our liberties to call out injustice whenever we see it, whether it’s happening here in the U.S. or somewhere else in the world. Humanity has a responsibility to learn and to listen, to have the hard conversations, to tell the stories that make us feel vulnerable, to compare our experiences, to look around at our dinner tables and examine which perspectives are missing.

And then, we need to turn up the volume.

Every moment we feel hopeless is an opportunity to hold our elected leaders accountable. Advocacy is how we move forward.

For every Black American who has ever felt scared, rather than safe, by police presence, we advocate for systems of accountability for and prevention of police violence.

For every Black American who has ever been denied equal pay, education, or access to healthcare, we advocate for equality.

For every Black American exercising the right to participate in peaceful protest, we advocate for your freedom.

For George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, we will not rest until justice is served.