New Orleans, LA – As Louisiana and the nation grieve the death of Alton Sterling, the National Urban League and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans (ULGNO) today joined Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in calling for a thorough investigation of his shooting by Baton Rouge Police, and a comprehensive evaluation of police training and policies.
“As these killings continue to shock the conscience of Louisianans and the nation, we look forward to the day when hastiness on behalf of police, poor training of police and aggression on behalf of police are behind us,” Urban League of Greater New Orleans President and CEO Erika McConduit-Diggs said. “The Baton Rouge community is tight-knit; a city whose residents genuinely care about their neighbors. This strong sense of community can be seen by the outpouring of local support. As this altercation highlights, there is still work to be done to bring the community closer together and build a more trusting relationship between its citizenry and those sworn to protect them. ”
“Louisiana has had its fair share of national tragedies and continues to march toward the north star of equality,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “‘Union, Justice, and Confidence’ is the state motto and those words are to be made ever more significant in the coming weeks as investigations reveal more. The National Urban League stands behind ULGNO as they continue to be an active member of the community striving to make each word more potent by addressing the needs of South Louisiana; bringing people together, advocating for due process and equitable treatment, and building confidence in our governance through policy.”
McConduit-Diggs and Morial stressed that coordination among local leaders, friends and neighbors and law enforcement is critically important in these trying times.
“Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Sterling family as they now must make progress without the support of their patriarch,” McConduit-Diggs said. “In the spirit of solidarity with the peaceful protest in the Louisiana Capitol, we support the efforts of due process in the service of justice for the Sterling family and applaud the U.S. Department of Justice for their swift response to fully investigate this matter.” As the investigation unfolds, we stress the importance of transparency and keeping the community informed and abreast of all findings.
Morial added, “The Urban League movement focuses to build inclusive communities that not only recognize African American humanity, but maximize the individual and collective contributions of all in our society. As we work to dismantle systems that humiliate, unjustly murder and continuously devalue black lives in America, our faith and works will be with the community as we strive to create sustainable change and improve upon the quality of life in our region and our nation.”