Dear Sisters and Brothers,

First and foremost, please accept our heart-felt condolences at the loss of P.O. Rafael Ramos and P.O. Wenjian Liu. These men gave their lives in service and our hearts go out to you and their families. Our hearts grieve for them in the same way they mourn for the families of those choked or shot to death by NYPD officers. We write this letter to the NYPD’s Black and Latino fraternal organizations out of love and in response to the crisis that our communities are living across the country and in NYC.

We write to you, Black and Latino sisters and brothers, because we grew up in the same neighborhoods, belong to the same houses of worship, went to the same schools, and like you, are providing for our families against all odds. The Black and Latino community are your sons, daughters, cousins, life partners, aunts, mothers, fathers, and friends. You, too, are our kin.

The killings of Aiyana Jones in Detroit, MI, Eric Garner in Staten Island, Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, Samantha Ramsey in KY and many others have left us heartbroken. The impunity provided to officers in response has left us justifiably angry. The list of Black women, men, girls, and boys whose names and lives have been memorialized through hash tags is long. And we cannot sit idle as Black and Brown people are killed and there is no accountability or measure of justice. The tense environment due to over-policing: the abuse and the killings must end.

We know that the burden of community policing has fallen on your shoulders and that is an added stress that comes with being a police officer in NYC. We hear you. We see you. And you still have our concern as members of the Black and Latino community. We appreciate the risk taken by some Black and Latino officers who have been brave enough to speak up, like the courageous officer who was interviewed on Democracy Now, but struggle always entails risks. Truth is frequently an exercise of courage. So, we are asking that all of you sisters and brothers fight for us and not allow acts of state-sanctioned police abuse and killings to harm us. And should you speak up, know that you have a community of committed people who are ready to hear your side of the story and will support and stand with you in telling the truth.

For all these reasons, we are asking the members of the Guardians Association and Hispanic Society to summon your courage for an urgent purpose and speak about the racism within the NYPD that you have been victims of and observed. We ask you to challenge Patrick Lynch and the PBA’s leadership team to stop the racially coded "us" versus "them" rhetoric that is fueling mistrust and tension. He may not admit to the existence of the systemic racism in the NYPD, but we know many among you are witnesses to that treatment.

Speak the truth of being a Black and Latino officer in an NYPD where on your off-duty time, you are susceptible to the same over-policing and discrimination we all suffer.  Speak the truth about quotas and the way you are asked to police that may not feel quite right, especially in communities of color.  As the tone and opinions of Patrick Lynch do not represent all of the members of the NYPD, it is your time to enter this debate and speak boldly so we can avoid Patrick Lynch’s perspective being the only voice our Black and Latino communities associate with the NYPD. We know you care about the dignity of your profession. We especially ask all the retired members of the Guardians Association and Hispanic Society to come forward and talk about biased policing and the failures of "broken windows." Together you can denounce Patrick Lynch’s tirade against protestors who understand it is the system that is causing our community so much pain, and who understand that we are taking part in our democratic first amendment right.

We'd like to support dialogue between you and community leaders in the Black and Latino community and beyond. Our people are waiting for you to speak. We make this request out of our desire for justice and transformation. We await your collective response. We await the breaking of your silence.

Signatories to Open Letter: 

*Institutional affiliations for identification purposes only.

Edgar Rivera Colón, Ph.D. Narrative Medicine Program, Columbia University

Darnell L. Moore Writer and Resident of Brooklyn

Opal Tometti Executive Director, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)/Co-founder of Black Lives Matter

Kimberlé Crenshaw, J.D., LL.M. African American Policy Forum

Luke Charles Harris, Ph.D., J.D., LL. M. African American Policy Forum

Jamilah Lemieux Writer/Editor/Resident of Brooklyn

Kiese Laymon Writer/Teacher, Vassar College

Rev. Samuel Cruz, Ph.D. Senior Pastor Trinity Lutheran Church/Assistant Professor of Religion and Society, Union Theological Seminary

Lourdes Ashley Hunter, MPA National Director, Trans Women of Color Collective, Washington D.C.

New York City Congress for Puerto Rican Rights Board of Directors  & Leadership Committee

Sean Anthony Creative Director and Executive Director of LIFE Network/Resident of Brooklyn

Larry D. Lyons Senior Manager-Stakeholder Engagement, Newark Public Schools

Dána-Ain Davis, Ph.D. Anthropologist and citizen, Queens College and the Graduate Center

Carlos Ulises Decena, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Monica C. Dennis Racial Justice Organizer and Resident of Brooklyn, Black Lives Matter

Bryan M-C Epps Executive Director, The Shabazz Center

Allen Kwabena Frimpong, Philanthropic Strategist/Organizer, Black Lives Matter

Aldo A. Lauria Santiago, Ph.D. Professor, Rutgers University

Carolina M. López Executive Director, New York Harm Reduction Educators

Marlon Peterson, Writer and activist, Brooklyn, NY

Bryson Rose Assistant Director, Advocacy and Capacity Building for LGBTQ Youth

Joanne N. Smith Founder of Girls for Gender Equity

Mariah Lopez Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR)

Donovan X. Ramsey Journalist, Fellow at Demos

Ahmad Greene-Hayes Writer and Community Organizer, Black Lives Matter NYC

Esperanza Martell Hunter College, Silberman School of Social Work

Jorge B. Merced, Associate Artistic Director, Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater

Nakisha M. Lewis Philanthropic Strategist/ Organizer, Black Lives Matter NYC

Zenzile Greene-Daniel Joseph S. Murphy Institute, Center For Worker Education

Zakiya J. Lord Advocate/activist Brooklyn, NY

Alex Trillo, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Sociology and Latino Studies, Saint Peter’s University

Jamar Hooks Racial and Criminal Justice Organizer and resident of Harlem

Octavia Y. Lewis, MPA Doctoral Candidate of Public Health Education Specialist, Transgender Programming-Hetrick-Martin

Aídah R. Gil. PhD Student, CUNY Graduate Center

Quardean Lewis-Allen Community Organizer and Planner, Brooklyn, NY

Alex S. Bennett, Ph.D. Board of Directors, New York Harm Reduction Educators

Tanisha C. Ford, Ph.D. Professor and Brooklyn resident

Lillian Rivera, MPH Writer, Youth Advocate, Latina Lesbian Mom

Darell J. Hunt, BFA-Acting Actor/Singer/Activist/Resident of NYC

Harry Franqui-Rivera, Ph.D. Historian, Blogger, Researcher at Center for Puerto Rican Studies-Hunter College CUNY

Michelle Stewart Educator

Erica Cardwell Essayist, Cultural Critic Assistant Director, Arts and Culture-Hetrick-Martin Institute, MFA Candidate at Sarah Lawrence College

Joel Diaz Writer, Educator, Youth Advocate

Carmelita Cruz, Esq. Director, NY Advocacy & Organizing, Housing Works, Inc.

Jaron Benjamin VP, Community Mobilization, Housing Works, Inc.

Angela Moreno, MA Advocate

Mark Anthony Neal Professor, African & African American Studies-Duke University

Pharon Ford Advocate

Rev. Stephanie A. Duzant,  MSW Associate Minister/ Social Action Ministry Leader, St. Matthew's Community AME Church of Hollis

Leonardo Vilchis Organizer, Artist-Union de Vecinos

Major Neill Franklin Executive Director-LEAP

Teresa Ann Willis Transformative Educator/Co-founder, Middle Passage School for Life, Harlem, USA

Kleaver Cruz Literary Artist, Resident of The Bronx

Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez Immigrant Rights and LGBTQ activist, Queens, NY

Shirley Leyro, Ph.D. Candidate Sociology, Graduate Center CUNY

Dwayne David Paul, M.A.R. Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, Saint Peter's University

Valerie Reyes-Jimenez Native New Yorker, Activist/ Grandmother

Glenn A. Hunter Co-Executive Director, Harlem Cultural Archives Historical Society

Arlene Davila, Ph.D. Professor of Anthropology and American Studies, New York University

Mireya Gonzalez Latina Lesbian Advocate and Activist, Brooklyn, NY

Sean Coleman Executive Director, Destination Tomorrow

Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Ph.D. Candidate Director of Communications, More Light Presbyterians/Adjunct Instructor, Chicago Theological Seminary

Anthony Otero Writer/ Events Manager-Barnard College

Tynesha McHarris Director of Community Leadership, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Resident of Brooklyn

Heidi Lopez Lifelong Resident of Washington Heights, Daughter of Dominican Immigrants

Percy E. Holmes Vocational Specialist/Educator

Larry Fellows III Young Leader Fellow, Amnesty International-USA/Community Organizer

Christopher Jones Chaplain and Manhattan resident/Griot Works Pastoral Services

Zaire Dinzey-Flores, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Rutgers University/Brooklyn resident

Sydney Seifert, MA Hunter College, Silberman School of Social Work

Andrew Spieldenner, Ph.D. Harlem resident and Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

Jorge Estrella Vice President, Parent Association of P.S.182x/Field Technician,  Verizon Communications, Parent, Resident of the Bronx

Subha Ahmed Teach for America Alum, NY 2012, NY Dept of Education, Poet, Parent, Activist, Woman of Color

Claudia De la Cruz Activist/Minister-United Church of Christ, Founder of Da Urban Butterflies Youth Leadership Development Project, Adjunct Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)

Alexis Riley NYC Educator

Jose Vilson Math Teacher, NYC Public Schools, Writer,

Enmanuel Candelario Artist & educator, Cofounder of The Peace Poets

Teresa Basilio Gaztambide Co-Director Global Action Project, Resident of Brooklyn

Joan P. Gibbs, Esq. Center for Law & Social Justice, Medgar Evers College – CUNY

Gary Paul Wright Executive Director, African American Office of Gay Concerns

Michele Hamilton Program Manager, After School Programs-Oakland Unified School District, School Owner and Founder-The Pear Tree Preschool & Kindergarten

Mayzabeth Lopez Community Organizer, GOLES, Secretary, NYC Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, Brooklyn, NY

Arnaldo J. López, Ph.D.Development Officer, Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater

Leniere Miley Coordinator, Outreach & Recruitment, THRIVE @ HELP/PSI, New York, NY

Carlos M. Camacho Adjunct Instructor, Bronx Community College Bronx, NY

Ayano’onay Strickland Health Coach-TaOrganic Healing, Washington, DC

Alejandra Lopez, Esq. Public Defender and Immigrants’ Rights Activist

Manolo Guzmán-Estavillo, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Sociology, Marymount Manhattan College

Indiana Garcia Youth Mentor & Advocate, Bronx Native

Kassandra Frederique Community Organizer, Social Workers Against Criminalization

Olivia Arguinzoni Bronx, NY

Saki Rizwana Lecturer, SUNY New Paltz

Akua Soadwa Founder and Executive Director-Gye Nyame Empowerment Project/ Life Coach

Michelle Ronda, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice, Borough of Manhattan Community College CUNY

Justin Stucey PR Events Account Manager, BMW North America

Salamishah Tillet Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Co-Founder, A Long Walk Home, Inc.

Kenneth Hinds Citizen, Worker, Family member

Yarimar Bonilla, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Rutgers University

Eduardo Colón Aparicio Music Promoter/Health food worker/Retired

Nuriel R. Xzolazo Artist/Spiritual Minister   

Daniel José Older Author, Teacher-Brooklyn, NY   

Marlene Nava RamosThe GC Women of Color Collective-Graduate Center CUNY, Resident of Harlem

Maisha Morales Co-Chair, New York City Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, Supportive Service Counselor-GOLES, Brooklyn Community Organizer, Activist and Resident

Juan Ramos Co-Chair-New York City Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, Brooklyn Community Organizer, Activist and Resident

Kenneth Scoby Committee Member-New York City Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, Brooklyn Resident

Talisa Feliciano The Women of Color Network, GC CUNY Graduate Student

Eric Nava-Perez Organizer, Raza Youth Collective, Undergrad Student-CUNY Lehman College

Michael Partis, Instructor,Borough of Manhattan Community College CUNY, Chief Research & Policy Officer, Young Movement Inc.

Yesenia Fernández Selier Artist and PhD student at NYU-Steinhardt

Rev. Vanessa M. Brown Senior Pastor, Rivers at Rehoboth, NYC

Rachael Marie Ibrahim Social Work Community Organizer, Resident of Brooklyn

Artur Balanovskiy Student, Resident of Brooklyn

Ladi’Sasha Jones Cultural Arts Producer

Ileia Burgos Organizer, Rockaway Wildfire, Wildfire Project facilitator, Member-Organization for A Free Society

Stephen Tyrone Williams Artist, Resident of Harlem              

Gerren Keith Gaynor Journalist/Editor, Resident of Harlem           

Analis Souza Transcript Data Entry Specialist, Resident of Oneonta                 

Mychal Denzel Smith Writer/Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute, Resident of Brooklyn    

Dante Barry Executive Director, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, Resident of Brooklyn

Pete Haviland-Eduah National Policy Director, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice   

William Pérez, Ph.D   Recent graduate in Biology, Graduate Center CUNY

Adaku Utah  Healer, liberation organizer and educator, artist, resident of Brooklyn     

Edward Paulino, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of History, John Jay College of Criminal Justice CUNY               

Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas, Ph.D Baruch College/CUNY Graduate Center, Valentin Lizana Y Parrague Endowed Chair in Latin American Studies

Darrin Benjamin Maxwell Prevention & Outreach Coordinator, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center     

Kelly McGowan Going Upstream

George Ayala, Psy.D. The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)      

Kiyan Williams Artist-Activist, New Media Coordinator, Hetrick-Martin Institute

Omar Perez Artist-Educator-Activist, Resident of the Bronx

Walter Cruz Visual Artivist, Resident of the Bronx

Carmen Dixon Educator and Faith-Based Community Organizer- Black Lives Matter NYC    

Julián Padilla, M.S. Ed. LGBTQ Justice Organizer, Make the Road NY, Resident of Brooklyn

Michael S. Burns, Ph.D Assistant Professor of English-West Chester University of PA

Maura M. Bairley, MA Consultant Resident of Brooklyn

Francisco Ruiz Latino LGBTQ Advocate & Activist