June 2, 2020

Government Accountability Project Statement on the Protests Against Racism  

WASHINGTON – For the past week, tens of thousands of Americans have joined together to protest police brutality and systemic racism following the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. These protests come at a time when our country is still struggling to contain a pandemic, which has disproportionately affected the lives and livelihoods of people of color and exposed the still reverberating consequences of slavery and segregation in 21st  century American life. Now, in cities across in the US, the protests function as a nation-wide sign of solidarity of support for racial justice.

As advocates for truth-tellers and accountability, Government Accountability Project stands in solidarity with those who experience and shed light on systemic racism in our country.  We have long fought to protect the right of Americans who, in the face of retaliation, choose to tell the truth. Too many of our leaders have sought to infringe protesters’ right to assembly and speech. Across the country, police officers, national guard troops and federal officials have fired rubber bullets, used physical shows of force including low-flying helicopters, and sprayed tear gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters. This week, President Trump went as far as to use federal agents to forcibly clear a crowd of protesters so that he have a photo op using the Christian Bible as a most inappropriate prop. All this happened just a block and a half from our offices. We stand by the brave truth-tellers who continue to organize and march peacefully in spite of threats of arrest and violence.

We also condemn the targeting of journalists and media covering the protests. There have been numerous reports of police interfering with, arresting, and or shooting at journalists trying to report on gatherings. The American public has a right to know what is happening. At Government Accountability Project, we know what an important partner the media is in uplifting the stories of those who bravely speak truth to power. We also know that freedom of information is the cornerstone of our democracy. In uncertain times, we cannot afford to have governments and police use violence and intimidation to limit that freedom.

This is a critical time in our country. As we continue to fight to contain the pandemic, we also must confront the violence and racism still deeply rooted in our country. The work of these peaceful protesters is critical, and we stand in solidarity with those who fight to hold government accountable, and will continue to do so until we are able to achieve our national goal of a free and equitable society for all.

Louis Clark, CEO & ED of Government Accountability Project