Defund The Police, Fund Communities

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This business is queer and white owned. My business & I were both born in Oakland, California. The home of the Black Panthers! I feel called to share and spread the word about the what’s going on in order to hopefully reach other white people, business owners & stick and pokers.

I am so excited for our planet as we birth through the canal of old, limited ideas and into an expansive new world where more people are possibly more free. The sides are becoming clear as we head to a contentious American election – there is a line being drawn in the sand! At moments like this in history, we look back and can clearly see the right and wrong. The people with hateful signs (for example) at the somewhat recent desegregation of the south…recall the images? The people on the sidelines – the kids walking to their new school among spitting white women, etc? BTW many of those women are still alive today! That lady had kids and grandkids and a few of them are proud police officers of the law across our great nation. Today those officers are terrorizing BIPOC and actively using our tax dollars to suppress another civil rights movement.

During these movements for change…there are marches and protests – and who always shows up? The bruts of institutional power – the police, to “protect” something (it’s not always clear what). Dogs and hoses were unleashed on peaceful people marching for equality. Today it is tear-gas and federal agents kidnapping at random. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is revered today, but he was not popular back then.  In the moment, it’s so much harder to tell which side is “right” – the feeling may be to ride it out and see what happens – and then decide. Or just go with what your family says. I am writing this article to convince you that to have the world we want, we must decide and actively support defunding the police, country-wide.

“But! I know a police officer and she is such a nice lady – she does a lot for our community so I don’t want to defund the police!” Read to the end to find out what happens with this nice police lady.

The call to action from BIPOC leadership is to actually defund the police and refund community services that support vulnerable and targeted populations such as the poor. Think of how much money can be routed into education, housing, health-care services, homeless services, veteran, etc! Police budget often take HALF, yes, 40-60% of local tax paid money! Basically like the military does for federal taxes…

Police in schools…. I was a teacher and I worked in schools with COs. There is no place for police among youth. Here is a video on that topic and the School To Prison Pipeline…

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Police reform does not work.

The studies are in, and the results are clear.  Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are continuing to be profiled,  terrorized,  brutalized, murdered.  The reasons run deep –  racist power structures that encourage and allow this, police unions that prevent real change, and a police force that is full of racist officers (read about white supremacy and policing). Racial bias is on display in countless videos of white and black people doing the exact same thing (living), BUT when police arrive,  the black person is feared, misunderstood, disrespected (abused, beaten, injured, murdered) by police. In contrast, Police take white supremacist murderer Dylan Roof a Burger King burger after arrest after open firing and murdering members of a black church in Charleston, NC.

Police are paid using tax dollars. The people affected – those who are arrested, beaten,  jailed – often wrongly. Lives ruined – everyday. We all are paying these police in order to brutalize innocent people. It must stop!

In many cases city officials are not able to do anything to enact systemic change in their local police.  Police unions, police immunity, police chain of command, the “brotherhood” culture and lack of accountability – all make it difficult to find and remove the problem officers. They back each other up – and the ones that blow the whistle are the ones that lose their jobs and are black-listed.  So, we daily have new stories of corruption and misconduct involving many officers working together using their power to tamper with evidence, plant drugs on black men,  sexually assault women, etc. We have officers who continue to serve active duty with the public despite a record of misconduct – on the job and in their personal life. If one officer is let go somewhere – another department somewhere else hires them.

We have a police force in this country trusted by a lot of the public, with the second highest number of complaints being sexual misconduct (#1 is excessive force).

“But! What about the murderers and rapists and thieves!?”

The fear that murders and rapes will occur at a higher rate is not founded in reality. Police are sold to us as keeping us safe, but in fact they rape and abuse at a higher rate than the population they serve. U.S. Police education requirements is very low – especially when compared to other public servants – teachers, social workers, therapists – who all require advanced degrees and regular trainings to keep a license. Also, if any misconduct occurs, the license is taken away. With police, the insular and protective nature of the departments, lack of oversight, accountability and many protections for police individuals do not allow for this process. Police reform has not been able to fix these many deeply engrained problems. Police fight tooth and nail to NOT be held to the standards that they enforce in the general population. I see that clearly right now in my county where the Sheriff (history of abuse by many officers) is trying to use tax-payer dollars to sue the Board of Supervisors for appointing an independent oversight committee to look into officer involved shootings and excessive use of force. What is he hiding?

Police in the United States are borne of white supremacy – they were officially formed as slave patrols.

It is no wonder then that we see black communities patrolled, harassed, jailed and murdered by police at a higher rate.  We must cut this tie and start over with a model that actually supports the communities it’s meant to serve. We now see the militarization of the police. The nation watched in horror as police tear-gasses, shot at, brutalized protesters on their own streets – in thousands of cities. A local small town of mine has an actual army tank.

I am aware of a drug raid that occurred in my old Oakland neighborhood last year in which a * suspect * related to drug sales was detained in the middle of the night using a squad fully decked out in military gear, a tank, tear gas, and explosives. They didn’t ring the doorbell –  they fully knocked down the door, ripping it out of the frame. Young children were in this home. It was a family sleeping. Someone easily could have been hurt. My neighborhood watched this scene that looked like it was from a war zone. Later, this * suspect * was freed in the following days because he was innocent of any charges. Meaning: this man (and people with no ties to crime) are being terrorized because they are black, they look like someone, they are friends with someone. If a detained suspect doesn’t have bail after they are detained/arrested, they are stuck in a cell for days, maybe weeks – before they are proven to be guilty or innocent of a crime! This is very disruptive to families and communities. Watch more  below by John Legend….

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Police are increasingly being given weapons that are banned in international warfare. It is very scary to combine power, immunity, lack of training/education, racism and military grade weaponry. Police regularly abuse their power, they over react, and they escalate. They think they are in a war, when they are in communities that pay them to protect them. They don’t seem to care!

Here is a great article by a former police officer….

This defunding the police will not be painful to you or I – why? Because the nice police lady you know will become the leader of this NEXT way of supporting communities. She and other “good cops” you know will be first let go, then investigated, hired and trained in a new way of keeping communities safe.  They along with trained workers in de-escalation, in working with unhoused people, with mentally unstable people, with the plethora of people that make up a community.

The money from DEFUNDING  police will go to FUNDING what we’ve been missing for a long time….services, clinics, housing, education, etc.

MH First is a group in Oakland that is starting to replace police. You can do it in your hometown too! Get the conversation started!

<3 For Black liberation, Black joy,  Black power. <3

Support Black Tattoo artists and shops. Ink the Diaspora has countless resources to comb through on this topic!

Find more ways to get involved & donate time & money here:

(If you have more resources to add, please send me an email via our contact form)

Reading 

Read about White Culture here. Examining and questioning whiteness is one of the first steps to seeing this situation clearly. White people are not the baseline, “normal.” We have a culture. What is it like?

On Bookshop.org: So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo. Good for answering all the basic questions that really should not be asked of your POC friends (without offering to pay them). I’ve def made that mistake.

On bookshop.org: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander . Institutionalized racism through Jim Crow era to today.

Washington Post’s Police Shootings Database

LA Times Editorial Board on Police Killings

Meet who has been killed in this flip book by AlJazeera

Watching

Sonya Renee Taylor breaks it down for all of us in her audio and visual. I am so grateful.

Many streaming Netflix (and other platforms) movies illuminate black history and current issues around racism, including:

13th, When They See Us, The hate U give, Just Mercy, I am not your Negro, The Black Power Mixtape, The  Death and life of Marsha P Johnson, Do The Right Thing, American Son, Fruitvale Station,  Trial By Media,  Strong Island and many many more…

Get Involved

SURJ – Showing up for Racial Justice – in the United States – has many local chapters for white people to get involved in social justice.

Donate – Join us in donating $$$ to organizations that uplift this movement

Anti – Police Terror Project – working in Sacramento and Oakland to hold police accountable and replace police with a team of first responders.

Movement for Black Lives – a space for Black organizations

BIPOC Solidarity

Black Trans Movement – The okra project

Color of Change ending cash bail

The Marshall Project – reporting on the criminal justice system