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After Funding is Cut to a Domestic Violence Shelter Who Supported BLM, national Lawyers’ Committee Takes Action 

Wisconsin county officials who cut ties with a domestic violence shelter due to the shelter’s support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) should recognize that calls for equality do not represent hostility toward law enforcement, according to a letter sent Monday by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to the Barron County Sheriff’s department. 

The letter aims to educate county officials on what it means to support the call that Black Lives Matter and notes that the shelter’s support of BLM is not hostile to law enforcement and that supporting BLM advances the missions of public service providers, such as the shelter and local law enforcement. 

“A shelter that helps survivors of sexual and domestic violence, including women of color and others, should be allowed to stand against racism without retaliation,” said Arusha Gordon, associate director of the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Our hope is that county officials learn that calling out racism is not divisive or intended to harm law enforcement. Law enforcement leaders, American businesses, and organizations around the country have joined to call out racism and say that Black Lives Matter. We hope the county leadership, including the sheriff, will accept our invitation to speak and learn more about the inequality present in our society.”  

The letter notes that, Wisconsin’s population is overwhelmingly white and is not immune from the effects of systemic racism: Black babies in Wisconsin are three times more likely to die than white babies; Wisconsin locks up Black men at a higher rate than any other state; and Milwaukee remains the most segregated city in the country, due to a history of racially exclusive mortgage programs and policies that forbade Black families from moving to white neighborhoods. 

Read the letter here.  

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About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes.  For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org. 

About the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate at the Lawyers’ Committee – The James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate, at the Lawyers’ Committee, supports communities and individuals targeted for hate and challenges white supremacy by using creative legal advocacy, disrupting systems that enable hate, and educating the general public and policy makers. The Byrd Center’s resource and reporting hotline for hate incidents, 1-844-9-NO-HATE (1-844-966-4283), connects people and organizations combating hate with the resources and support they need. For more information please visit: https://www.lawyerscommittee.org/project/stop-hate-project/ 

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