AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation condemns the incidents of violence that occurred during largely peaceful protests in Texas and around the country and calls for “honest dialogue and action to find common ground.”

“The violence is not just putting innocent people in harm’s way but sends the exact opposite message of treating each other with respect and dignity,” said TPPF’s Executive Director Kevin Roberts. “Destruction and damage accomplish nothing. America has been through tough times and dealt with difficult issues, and it’s our respect for civil discourse that will see us through this time, as well.”

“We as Americans — black, white, Asian, Hispanic, and beyond — have an obligation to understand why African Americans are protesting now,” said TPPF ’s Right on Crime Senior Fellow Alice Marie Johnson. “These protests come from a place of deep pain. As a daughter of Jim Crow Mississippi, I’ve seen too much of this. I’ve lived too much of this. When your African American brothers, sisters, and neighbors see a black man lying in the street with a knee on his neck, we see a metaphor for African Americans. It is a painful reminder that we have much more work to do to make sure these injustices do not continue. Out of this pain I hope will arise honest dialogue and action to find common ground.

“All of us, particularly the police and the communities they are supposed to serve, must take solid steps toward rebuilding trust. I’m not anti-police. We need our police. I come from a family of government workers and law enforcement professionals. I believe in public service. But our government, and our police, have got to defend us — not degrade us.  That’s all we ask — and it is all we have ever asked. It’s time.”

“The pain that’s out there is real and we have to take it seriously,” said Dr. Richard Johnson, director of the Foundation’s Booker T. Washington Initiative. “Conservatives, in particular, need to understand it — because it is our shared principles of civil society, opportunity, and liberty that are needed to address it.

“When American institutions and American communities are alienated from one another, America does not work. Creating that connection, the unity of one, is the greatness of our nation. When we do this, we can overcome the inheritance of distrust. This is the work handed to us. It is the work that our foundation and our initiative, pursues every day!”

Right on Crime is a national campaign that supports conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs. The Booker T. Washington Initiative seeks to open up greater opportunity to underserved communities through reforms that improve education, entrepreneurship, and self-reliance.