Dear Center for Constitutional Rights family,
At this time of crisis and deep concern, we want to reach out to our beloved community to affirm our fellowship and the value of our collective vision. What aches so much about this particular crisis, unlike others we have faced together, such as the post-9/11 human rights atrocities, the Iraq War and others, and our increasing authoritarian lurch, is that what we strive for most — human connection and physical presence — actually now threatens us. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, we continue our work to support each other, our partners, and communities in need, and we are taking all precautionary measures, including canceling all non-essential events and travel to minimize the spread of the virus.
And, while we take care of each other, our families, elders, and those with compromised health, we should also reflect that this crisis — like all others — will disproportionately harm the most vulnerable in our society. We must keep in mind people who are incarcerated or in ICE custody, people who are experiencing homelessness, health care providers, service workers, particularly those working right now to keep our public spaces clean and safe, and people working at the margins of our economy, among so many others at risk.
We also know well that crises can often clarify our collective failure to support vulnerable members of our community — domestically and globally — as well as the imperative to radically transform our society for everyone to thrive. As with past health crises like the HIV/AIDS and crack epidemics, these moments present the powerful with an opportunity to demonize people and leverage xenophobia to punish and exclude. They also present the government with an opportunity to over-respond with law enforcement tools and under-respond with necessary services to our communities. Therefore, our response must now manifest as a collective responsibility to protect each other, hold the powerful to account, and demand that all communities be treated with care and concern.
We must all be vigilant about the manipulation of this crisis for authoritarian, repressive ends including upending the elections, imposing additional harmful delays to the rights of detainees and asylum seekers, and others. We must resist and challenge future austerity measures or bailouts of major industries and demand full governmental support for urgent public health measures and for those who are or will be struggling to survive economically.
At all times, justice takes a fight. But during this time, above all justice requires love.
Center for Constitutional Rights