(Pittsfield, Mass.) The Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP have organized a standout protesting police violence against people of color this Saturday, May 5th from 12 noon to 2 P.M. at Park Square in downtown Pittsfield. Entitled, “Speaking Truth to Power,” the event will include remarks by State Senator Adam Hinds, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard, NAACP Berkshire County branch president Dennis Powell, local youth and others.

The standout is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Democratic Brigades, Berkshire Democratic Brigades, First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, MA, the Four Freedoms Coalition, Greylock Together, INDIVISIBLE PITTSFIELD, Multicultural Bridge - Not In Our County, the Pittsfield Human Rights Commission, Price Memorial AME Zion Church, Second Congregational Church Pittsfield and the Unitarian Universalists Meeting of South Berkshire.

NAACP branch president Dennis Powell noted, “This is not about all those in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their community. We have the utmost respect for all police officers who live by the oath they swore: ‘To Protect and to Serve’ ALL citizens.”

He continued, “This standout is about those officers who have implicit and explicit bias against people of color resulting in racist acts. Too many officers have demonstrated on numerous occasions that they have the skills to eliminate a threat without killing suspects… those suspects, however, are white! Officers have had white suspects point a weapon directly at them in broad daylight (the officer did not have to think it was a gun; he knew it was) and yet the suspects lived.”

“Young black men & women have been killed for having a cell phone, a shower head, or nothing at all. This is clearly racism, and it is time to speak the truth and call it out for what it is.”

As Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor wrote in her dissent to Utah vs. Stieff: “For generations, black and brown parents have given their children “the talk”—instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.”

The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, economic, social and educational equality of rights for all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. For more information on the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP, visit www.naacpberkshires.org.

(press release sent to WSBS from NAACP Berkshires for online and on-air use, article image taken from the NAACP Berkshires Facebook Page