In Washington Post, Gupta Calls for ‘New Way Forward’ on Policing

Contact: Shin Inouye, [email protected], 202.869.0398

WASHINGTON – In a Washington Post opinion piece, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Obama, outlined steps Attorney General Barr should take to address the killing of George Floyd by police officers.

“There is no returning to normal — we have to create a new way forward,” wrote Gupta. “Our nation will one day have a Justice Department committed to constitutional policing — one with the moral authority to lead a sincere reckoning with our history of state violence and white supremacy against black communities and other communities of color. Until then, leaders who care about healing our nation must take action now to honor George Floyd’s life.”

Gupta, who led the Obama administration policing reform efforts, said such steps were necessary to “promote accountability and constitutional policing in order to build community trust.” But she noted the current administration “openly stirs racial hostility and division,” and “there is little hope that it will rise to this tragic occasion.”

Read the opinion piece in its entirety here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and more than 400 other civil rights organizations this week called on congressional leadership to swiftly rectify the legacy of White supremacy and anti-Black racism that has led to police violence against Black people across our country. The groups outlined a series of reforms that Congress should take up in a comprehensive package immediately.

The Leadership Conference’s sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, previously launched a “New Era of Public Safety” initiative featuring tools to increase trust, fairness, justice, and mutual respect between police departments and the communities they serve. The guidebook and toolkit offer recommendations and advocacy tools for communities and police departments to co-create public safety and implement 21st century policing practices. More information on the initiative is available here.

 The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit