Office of Government Relations

Actions on Police Reform

January 31, 2023
Office of Government Relations

In light of the death of Tyre Nichols (read Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s pastoral message), we are re-re-releasing a modified list of actions you can take NOW to address police violence.

First, please join us in taking action by doing what we can at the federal level. But some issues, policing being one of them, have critical components at the state and local levels. The other actions below are intended to encourage you to get involved locally, as the approaches to addressing police violence are highly dependent on local context, local structures, and local relationships, and must be attended to as such.

The Episcopal Church urges action to address police violence and police reform and “condemns the improper and violent actions of authorities against people of color.” The Executive Council urges the Church to work for the transformation of the criminal justice system at the federal, state, regional, and local levels, including by enacting substantial police reforms.

Take action using the resources below:

  1. Write your members of Congress in support of legislation like the George Floyd Justice in Policing bill from 2021 that would set national standards and attempt to bring about lasting change to the ways that police departments operate
  2. Contact your state legislators to learn about reform efforts at the state level. Many states are working to enact major change and may be able to address specific issues you make them aware of. This can be done by visiting your states’ legislature page.
  3. Learn about your local law enforcement: What is its jurisdiction? Who controls funding and provides oversight? What is the racial makeup of the police force? Do they live in the communities they serve?
  4. Contact your local Mayor and Sheriff’s Office as well as your city council to ask them to implement policies to end police violence
  5. Learn about and connect with organizations working on police reform in your city and municipality. Here is a report as an example from Ferguson, MO, on community-based efforts to hold law enforcement accountable  
  6. Engage in anti-racism training to better equip yourself for civic participation
  7. Attend “Reimagining Police: A 3-Part Series” by the Absalom Jones Episcopal Center for Racial Healing. Watch part 1, part 2, and part 3. (Part three features OGR’s Alan Yarborough and Rebecca Cotton speaking on disinformation)

Beyond the immediate efforts of police reform, the Church has longstanding policy urging adequate investment in our communities, including investment in education, support for those facing homelessness or housing instability, access to food, and making reforms to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Addressing these issues and more are all crucial aspects of dismantling systemic racism and ensuring that our communities are safe, so all people can flourish. We will continue to advocate on these issues, and we encourage you to join us through more Action Alerts as the 118th Congress moves forward.

The Office of Government Relations