The Southern Tier AIDS Program denounces the murders of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and countless other Black people who have met their deaths at the hands of police.
We stand in solidarity with all social justice organizations working to address the structural racism and institutions that dehumanize people of color.
The Southern Tier AIDS Program actively opposes any plans by Governor Cuomo to deal with the New York State COVID-19 budget crises by slashing the NYS Medicaid program, education, low-income housing and other services critical to the health and well-being of poor New Yorkers, while protecting billionaires from paying their fair share in taxes and increasing law enforcement budgets.
We congratulate the Assembly, the Senate and Governor Cuomo for passing the “Say Their Name” police reform agenda. We remain hopeful, but also acutely aware of the failure of past reforms to create any long term meaningful change.
Today we announce our support for cutting the budgets of local law enforcement and county jails throughout upstate New York and redirecting those funds to address community needs including childcare, healthcare, housing, homeless services and programs to serve youth and elders. It is time that we acknowledged that when the budgets for courts, jails and law enforcement go up as they have continuously for decades, we are cannibalizing other critical community services.
We will continue to support the fight to repeal cash bail for non-violent offenses as well as other steps to unwind a criminal “justice” system that continues historic oppression of Black and Brown people.
As a public health organization, we believe that racial healthcare disparities are a form of systemic violence. Black and Brown people have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, suffering the greatest number of people becoming ill, being hospitalized, and dying due in part to the poverty and social and economic neglect driven by systemic racism.
It is time to take action to heal our communities and our country.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.