That’s the number of people killed by American law enforcement in the month of March in 2015. The U.S. has killed more of its citizens in one month than the UK has in over 100 years, according to the comparison offered by journalist Shaun King.
Over the course of 31 days, 115 families mourned daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, friends and loved ones. One hundred fifteen communities grappled with a reality in which those who were entrusted to protect and serve their communities instead shattered those communities. In many cases, the men and women killed were unarmed and posed no immediate threat to the officers that would ultimately take their lives.
This is the status quo. This is the state of our union. This is fundamentally unacceptable and this is why we march.
We are marching to Washington because we believe a different world is possible. We believe that together, we can change America from a nation that has perpetually functioned upon institutional racism to a nation defined by restorative justice and racial equality. Because we believe that everyone deserves to live a life free of violence, including the violence of poverty.
We march because we know that young people learn better from mentors than from prison guards, and we believe that alternatives to incarceration give people opportunities, skills, hope and a new beginning.
We, as people of all walks of life, march because we believe that so long as Black Americans continue to be subjected to institutional violence, America has not lived up to its promise of freedom.
This is our moment to uphold the legacy of direct action by placing one foot in front of the other on the long march to justice. We march with the support, blessing and guidance of our elders and with a fire in our hearts all our own. We march because our generation is empowered by access — we are empowered to see and know each other. We’ve seen these victims, we know their names, and in some cases we’ve watched them die on YouTube. We march because we are haunted and resolve to make things better for the next generation.
We march because they deserve better than this — we march because we must.