Here is the statement from the local chapter of the NAACP:
In response to the aftermath of the recent George Zimmerman “not guilty verdict”, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County NAACP stands with our national leadership and all NAACP branches across America in protecting and upholding the civil rights and livelihoods of all American citizens, particularly persons of color. We as a society simply cannot stand for the unlawful targeting and murder of innocent civilians,and as witnessed in the Trayvon Martin death, our children, and in particular our young black children. We as a region have felt the shock and awe of the loss of innocent life all too often as well, and today we call for practical measures to be implemented that will help prevent the loss of another innocent life. For the last several years, the NAACP has amassed numerous complaints that contend that the personal rights, freedoms, and liberties, of many black and minority citizens have been violated. This is due to harmful societal and law enforcement practices such as racial profiling, various forms of intimidation and brutality, forms of harassment, the use of excessive force, and field interview practices such as stop and frisk. Many of these practices are creating undue hardships to African-American and minority citizens. In 2013, we denounce second-class citizenship, and demand that the full rights and freedoms afforded to all Americans because of the Constitution and legal statutes be bestowed upon all citizens alike, regardless of race, gender, or creed. The great disparities in the rate that African-Americans, are stopped, harassed, and incarcerated, as can be attributed to studies conducted by policy groups such as the Ochs Center, must end with all possible speed.
Likewise, we renew the calls we made as part of the Blue Ribbon Study Committee in 2010, in the aftermath of several local killings that occurred in April of 2010. We call for an end of the school to prison pipeline. We call on our communities to educate, not incarcerate. We call for the end of systemic and institutional biases that endanger our communities because of the hate, malice, and racism they produce. We call for the implementation of sensible gun laws. We call for very true and very real criminal justice reform throughout Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Today we once again renew our call to adopt the NAACP's Smart and Safe Approach, which says we build better and safer communities through: Advancing Sentencing Reform and The Right to Vote for Formerly Incarcerated People; Advancing Effective Law Enforcement Practices; Elevating and supporting the voices of crime survivors; Removing Employment Barriers for formerly incarcerated people. As we stated at our most recent Criminal Justice Seminar in June of this year, we are striving to help the dreams of all person and of all backgrounds to Live.
We ask that our elected leaders and local law enforcement officials aide in this effort. Likewise, we call on the community to attend our General Membership Meeting on tomorrow, Tuesday July 16th at 6 pm at the Glenwood Recreation Center to discuss many of these important issues, as well as protecting our sacred right to vote. In order to build a better tomorrow, give hope a chance today, and the change begins with us all. We have come to far to go back now.