My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident and constituent of Stamford. I am writing to demand that the City of Stamford reduce the Stamford Police Department's budget. Stamford's needs must be addressed by the provision of care and not the threat of violence. We must invest in public and social services that build toward a "free and fair society" rather than an armed force that endangers citizens.
Our city faces racial inequalities, borne from historical injustice and brought into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic, that is sustained by policing. Stamford is intensely segregated and maintains extreme income inequality between downtown and suburbs such as North Stamford. Members of our community live without necessary services, in tight quarters, and on lean budgets, even before the pandemic stole four months of wages and counting. Thousands are becoming food-insecure and are at risk of eventual eviction. Essential educators are living on limited pay while repeated and overwhelming community demands to right these glaring injustices are ignored.
For the FY2020-2021 budget, the Mayor is proposing $39,743,050 be spent on Samford Police [https://www.stamfordct.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif1256/f/pages/fy20-21_mayors_proposed_detail_budget-v7.pdf], and reportedly only $988,600 of the same budget on "Social Services." The money spent on the Police Department should be reallocated toward improving addiction and mental health services, providing permanent housing for our unhoused neighbors, and improving city infrastructure.
Now especially, the Board of Representatives, the Mayor, and the Board of Finance can take a stand for racial justice by supporting a significant defunding of policing and investment of these funds into Black, brown, and Indigenous communities - starting with cutting the least transparent and most harmful parts of the Stamford Police Department budget.
Racist police violence does not just happen in other cities — it happens right here in Stamford. We see it in the disproportionate imprisonment of Black people, and in the racialized inequity that is prevalent in Stamford. The City Council must stop investing in targeted criminalization and surveillance, and fund what our communities need to be safe and healthy: COVID-19 relief, housing, healthcare, healthcare services, healing, community centers, and community-led organizations and projects.
I am looking forward to seeing the changes you make to the annual budget and the citizens of Stamford unequivocally say, Black Lives Matter.
[YOUR NAME][YOUR ADDRESS]
[YOUR EMAIL][YOUR PHONE NUMBER]