Open Letter to Black Lives Matter Nashua

To Black Lives Matter Nashua,
I’m the Libertarian candidate for Governor. Earlier this month, I wrote an essay addressing some of these issues, while others have been addressed in my campaign issues since I launched the campaign in December.
I endorse your seven demands, as well as the #8CantWait campaign.
My responses to your demands are written after each item:

1. We demand that you commit to mandating ongoing and retroactive implicit bias training for all state and local government employees and personally undergo the same training within your first 100 days as Governor.

I’m willing to take this training course before the election and invite the other gubernatorial candidates to join me. If elected, I will require such training of all employees in the Executive Branch of the government; and will work with the Legislature to require this training for all other government employees in the Granite State.

2. We demand that you commit to appointing a Civilian Oversight Board to oversee law enforcement and build public trust through accountability and transparency within your first 200 days as Governor.

I fully support a Civilian Oversight Board, and believe to be truly accountable all state, county and local police should also be required to fully document all instances in which any use of force was used; these reports should be compiled by the NH Department of Justice and a Quarterly Report on the Use of Force by police should be released to the public. Once each case of use of force is reviewed by the immediate supervisor and the COB, the reports should become Public Record, preferably via an online database. Further, I will work with the Legislature to institute a Duty to Intervene if an officer observes any excessive use of force.
Additionally, I believe an unredacted version of the Laurie List should be a Public Record.

3. We demand that you commit to appointing a new Racial Equity Task Force of paid staffers, focused on acknowledging racial disparities and seeking solutions to systemic racism in New Hampshire, within your first 250 days as Governor.

I would also include representatives from the ACLU, BLM, as well as other organizations representing the interest of minority groups. In order to maintain transparency, I would want all Task Force meetings to be open to the public.

4. We demand that you release a plan of action and take specific steps to reverse the disproportionate incarceration of Black and brown people in New Hampshire within your first 300 days as Governor.

We (meaning the NH Legislature as well as City & Town governments) need to address the root causes to many of the issues that there are simply too many laws; many of which disproportionately affect poor and minority communities – nearly 20% of African Americans and 18% of Hispanics in NH live below the poverty line, compares to ~7% of White Granite Staters. For example, licensing laws, prohibit people from working in certain fields without jumping through regulatory hurdles. These laws are often championed by existing businesses in the field as a way to limit competition. Zoning laws often prohibit mixing residential and commercial spaces, which means people can’t work close to where they live; which for someone without their own form of transportation makes finding and retaining employment difficult, especially in locations with limited (or no) public transportation.
When these laws and regulations are combined, it’s no wonder some people feel helpless and turn to working in the black market to survive. The existence of black market opportunities is pretext for police to patrol these neighborhoods at a higher rate than they would patrol a more affluent neighborhood.
The Drug War plays a large part in the disproportionate incarceration rates of minorities. An ACLU report released earlier this year shows that African-Americans are 4.1 times more likely that whites to be arrested for cannabis related offenses, despite numerous studies showing cannabis use to be similar across racial demographics. However that is just one part of the Criminal Justice System that is in need of reform. The current system is punitive and relies heavily on plea bargains where close to 98 percent of convictions are obtained through plea bargains. In many criminal cases where a defendant refuses a plea, they generally receive a stiffer sentence than they were offered prior to trial. I will work with the Legislature to prohibit a judge from issuing a harsher sentence post-conviction than was offered by the Prosecutor prior to the start of the trial.
Additionally, please also see my answer to #6.

5. We demand that you publicly support the prohibition of the use of tear gas and rubber bullets on unarmed demonstrators by New Hampshire law enforcement.

Neither of these should be use by police in any circumstances, much less against people exercising their rights to assemble, speak & petition for a redress of grievances.

6. We demand that you publicly support legislation to legalize the use of recreational cannabis. We demand that you commit to pardoning those who are currently serving time due to non-violent cannabis-related sentences, and expunging the records of all those charged with non-violent cannabis-related offenses.

This has been a central part of my campaign since it was launched in December. In fact, my platform goes further, to also include working to implement Portugal-style depenalization of all other substances for personal use; pardon all nonviolent drug offenders; allow those with previous drug convictions to work in the retail cannabis industry (something no other state with retail cannabis allows); and pardon all nonviolent offenders of crimes without a victim.

7. We demand that you publicly support the efforts of the NH Education Reform Initiative; an initiative that seeks to provide resources and accountability structures to teachers, reform whitewashed curriculum, encourage community partnerships and promote policies that actively uproot systemic racism in New Hampshire’s education system.

Having grown up in and near Birmingham, AL I not only learned about the horrible history of slavery & Jim Crowe, I knew people who participated in the Civil Rights march when Bull Connor directed the use of fire hoses and attack dogs on marchers. My parents went to a high school during the time it was being desegregated. My great-grandmother was one of the few remaining white people in her neighborhood close to Legion Field, where the University of Alabama used to play their home games. I’ve had police warn me of the dangers of the neighborhood when I was at her house just before dark. So I am not only aware of the existence of systemic racism that lingers because of Jim Crowe, I’ve also read about problems (redlining, sundown towns & the Klan) faced by African-Americans who fled the south. I’ve also noticed, in my own experience, that people from the Northeast (Pennsylvania to Maine) are frequently so racist they don’t even realize they’re being racist.
I fully support the efforts of the NH Education Reform Initiative, and would even support inclusion of providing resources to teach about the existence of slavery, racism & segregation in New England as part of the reformed curriculum.

In addition to this endorsement of your seven demands, I want to invite you (and other BLM chapters in NH) to join me during one of my upcoming Virtual Town Halls for a conversation about how we can work together to end systemic racism.

Darryl W. Perry
Libertarian for Governor

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