Bonta Responds To Recent Tragic Shootings

Friday, July 8, 2016

(Oakland, CA) Assemblymember Rob Bonta issued the following statement in response to the recent tragic shootings across the United States:

I'm angry. I'm frustrated. I'm hurting. But, mostly, I'm sad.

I know you are too.

When I saw the video of the shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, I had no words to describe my feelings of anger and sadness.

And when the video came out so soon thereafter of Philando Castile in St. Paul, yet another Black man being shot and killed by a police officer, I was beside myself.

Then the violence in Dallas, where our peace officers were specifically targeted and killed. More senseless violence and loss of life.

I mourn each loss of life and my deepest sympathies and condolences go out to their families, friends, and loved ones,

Because we're human, these incidents shook us all to the core.

I have heard and read the reactions of so many of you and know you have similar feelings. You're questioning who we are and what we've become. Some of you are doubting our ability to be the society we want to be and your hope is waning.

I encourage you to express your feelings and engage these tragedies in the way that works best for you.

If you find solace and comfort in worship and prayer, please participate in our faith-based gatherings.

If you feel your voice will best be heard through peaceful protest at rallies and demonstrations, by all means, exercise your First Amendment right to be heard.

What has happened recently in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas is, no doubt, part of who we are. We must own it and face it.

But it is not ALL of who we are. Nor does it define who we will be and what we can become.

I don't have all of the answers, nor does anyone else. I wish I did.

But I do know this.

First, this is all of our problem. I've used "we" throughout deliberately. It's not a White problem. Or a Black problem. Or a Brown problem. Or a Police problem. It's all of our problem. It's America's problem.

Second, we CAN make progress together. I do the work I do because I know we are not perfect and we can and must be better. By working collaboratively, together we can identify solutions that will help us overcome our current challenges.

What has surfaced in the last few days are not new problems; they are old, long-standing societal problems of race and gun violence. The urgent need to act is as high as ever. I feel that urgency.

For the past two years now, as a State Legislator and Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color, I've carried legislation on principled policing, procedural justice, and implicit bias. I believe that addressing these issues in law enforcement is critical to how we move forward. I will continue to push in this area.

I know we can make progress together because together we already have. Last year, through a combination of leadership from our California elected leaders and old-fashioned people power and activism, we passed AB 953, The Racial & Identity Profiling Act of 2015, to promote more justice and fairness and improve police-community relations.

No doubt these are dark days. We must be vigilant and urgent in our actions that follow so that we can address the root causes.

But don't lose faith in what we can accomplish together and know that we can be better: I won't and we can.