I’m going to take a minute to talk about a very controversial topic, which is off topic of what I normally use this blog for. But, it is important to me.
I grew up in a very rough neighborhood, Newark, NJ, and then moved to another neighborhood like that, Albany, NY, in my 20s. I was surrounded by gang violence, theft, robbery, and other activity. Throughout my childhood, I was in the minority as a white person, and all my friends were Black or Latino. Despite the gang violence, thefts, and robberies, I still felt a very strong sense of community among both of these neighborhoods and my neighbors would always look out for each other.
From watching what happened around me, I quickly developed a fear of police, a “cops kill people” mentality which has stuck with me today. I do feel like cops have too much power, are racist or forced into racism from fear for no good reason and I don’t like it. But, I don’t think the current protests are going to accomplish what we want. It just might make things worse and leave a scapegoat for police treating us with brutality. There are people doing things that I think are going to make a difference and the fact that we are all finally talking about it is huge.
This is a big topic in my current city, Seattle. There are several protests going on, and I’m involved in a community organization that acts as one outlet for this issue. I do think requiring police to wear body cameras is one solution that can help. I also think communities should be encouraged to discuss this issue on a regular basis and that police should be more involved in the communities. Just like with my job, I am expected to be involved in what we do and feel a tie to it. Police should be expected the same within their communities. I think police should be encouraged if not required to see therapists or attend groups to discuss these issues, so they can be evaluated if they are not fit for the work, or if how they are thinking and feeling (racism, fear and how to deal with it or understanding why exactly they are feeling it) is not fit for the community.
There is a change.org petition for the US House of Representative’s to pass a Michael Brown, Jr. Law to Begin Equipping Policy with Body Cameras here. If you feel strongly about this issue as I do, please sign it. And please, in your communities, do what you can to make a difference.