Freedom of the Press Foundation believes Black lives matter, and we support the efforts of activists and protesters exercising their First Amendment rights to take a stand against police brutality.
The incidents that sparked these protests — including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers — shock the conscience, but they are also reflections of a culture of white supremacy that permeates not just law enforcement agencies but far too many elements of American history and society. The racism that animates that culture must end.
Our organization's work includes recording and cataloging incidents of violence faced by journalists in the United States. Those numbers tell a clear story: In the past several weeks of protests, police are overwhelmingly behind those attacks. We support the struggle of these protesters and their efforts to defend the sanctity of Black lives and end police brutality, and would do so even if it were an issue orthogonal to the press freedom of our organization's mission. But these causes are in fact interwoven.
The territory is not just the streets of the cities and neighborhoods where we live, either; it is also the press community in which we work, where Black journalists have brought long-standing issues of inequality and discrimination to the fore. These struggles are important, and we support them without reservation.
The same ideals that make a free press worth fighting for — its unique abilities to challenge the powerful, to approach an underlying truth and to inform a citizenry — demand a diverse press, echoing the voices of a broad community.
A free press that lives up to those promises is an important tool to bring to bear against entrenched power structures and injustices. A free press that lifts otherwise marginalized voices can be an agent of change. Our work envisions that ideal of the press, not just free for its own sake, but to work towards a better society and deeper truths. To engage the people, and to demand accountability. To say, and to demonstrate, that Black lives matter.