Baltimore, Md. – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, and U.S. Representative Elijah E. Cummings (All D-Md.) joined with Baltimore clergy, Muslim community leaders and civil rights activists Friday at the Union Baptist Church to announce their united support for an end to racial profiling by all levels of law enforcement. Participants, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Center for Urban Families, The Catholic Church, Church of God In Christ, African Methodist Episcopal Church added their voice to the growing call for Attorney General Eric Holder to finally issue expanded guidance for federal, state and local law enforcement that prohibits discriminatory profiling. In addition, there was universal support for a more permanent solution with passage of Senator Cardin’s legislation, the End Racial Profiling Act (S. 1038). The Cardin bill would prohibit discriminatory profiling by law enforcement, collect data on the practice and provide funding for training to stop profiling before it begins.
“Our faith leaders are on the front lines of the fight against injustice in our communities. We welcome their voice and their insight to this battle against a practice that has no place within the values of our country,” said Senator Cardin. “Racial profiling — and discriminatory profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion or any other sweeping generalizations – is a matter that needs to be addressed from the root. We need a permanent solution that will begin to educate law enforcement in the differences between a suspect description and discriminatory profiling. Systematic reform is necessary at all levels of law enforcement so that we can prevent any more parents from having to grieve for their children like the parents of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.”
“Racial profiling is discrimination plain and simple. Families in their own communities should not have to fear they will be singled out because of their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin,” Senator Mikulski said. “For ten years I have continued to fight against profiling by working to pass the End Racial Profiling Act. I’m standing with Senator Cardin and Representatives Cummings, Edwards and Van Hollen to put muscle behind this bill and get it signed into law. Profiling is a serious and significant problem in many communities. It’s time to act. When we say ‘justice for all,’ we must mean it.”
“We live in a nation that was built on the premise that ‘all men are created equal.’ Yet when communities of color are targeted by law enforcement, the message we send is one of inequality,” said Congressman Cummings. “There is no single image of a criminal, and failing to understand that not only puts communities of color in danger — it inhibits law enforcement from stopping and preventing crime.”
“It is important that our congressional leadership – Senator Cardin, Senator Mikulski and Congressman Cummings – understand the impact of racial profiling in local communities. We are happy and proud that they are advocates to correct what has historically been a problem in our neighborhoods,” added Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway, Sr., Pastor at Union Baptist Church.