It is clear to the world that there have been terrible miscarriages of justice as it pertains to recent police involved shooting deaths of African American men. Hopefully, no one believes that this is novel, isolated or merely tragic mistakes. Tragic yes, but mistakes…I’m not too sure.
Historically, blacks have been treated in the manners we now are accessing due to technological advances like smartphones with embedded cameras, video uploading, livestreaming, and various social media platforms. Everyone is connected to social media in some way, and so now the entire country and world is viewing, live and in real time, the black experience with law enforcement officers around the country.
As the ‘Drum majors for Justice’ engage in protests, those of us who aren’t raising voices in solidarity, should be actively developing a clear outline of the specific changes being sought. Identify those problematic concerns, and then address them in terms of action statements. As we recognize problems, it is important that we address the solutions by illustrating the specific steps that must be taken. What do we want them to do as they build capacity to eliminate these destructive practices in the black community. The desired outcome is clearly understood, but how or what will be the process by which we expect to be taken to achieve our goals? We want respect, better interactions with police. Too general. They have to take steps that lead to better relations. Help by making your demands for change with unwavering resolve, determination and continue to cry out for justice.
Whatever the next step you make as you champion your cause, our cause-a just cause, do not back down. Do not rest on small wins, because the objective is true victory. Victorious in small battles, do not let the illusion of change mislead you, for the changes that are necessary in the quest for respect, will be measurable and widespread.
A shift in departmental policies, training procedures, and practices that occur in one location, one district, city or county is insufficient. That is but an illusion, because it hasn’t happened elsewhere- nearby cities, counties, etc…Although small changes are commendable, it is also the right thing to do, and until everyone does likewise, it remains unchanged. If my city is made free from the mindsets that have jeopardized black and brown lives, and yours is not, then no one can rest in the national ‘village’. The work is not done.
So, as you continue to raise your voices and raise conscious awareness of impropriety, ensure that someone is ready to gather at the decision-making tables and make concrete your objectives.
Clear platforms will target specific areas and make your demands. What do we want? When do we want it? In which ares do we want change, and how will we know when the desired outcomes will be achieved?
How will change begin, because change is not swift or instant; it is incremental, slow and deliberate. Folks have taken to the streets across the country, and not only blacks, but the protesters hail from the mosaic…that’s a positive! So, we aren’t feeling the pain, and anger in isolation, and despite the rhetoric spoken in the political sphere, we haven’t heard anything concrete from any one policy maker or decision maker regarding this issue. There are no concrete changes being proposed, discussed or debated. It’s all general rhetoric to appease the public. Acknowledgement of injustice we don’t need right now, because whether or not it is addressed to the citizens, that is not enough. One would have to be blind not to see what the world is witnessing. So to me, that sounds like lip service.
How are police officers trained to handle tense situations? What is our responsibility and our rights as citizens? And how does ethnicity change the equation?
What we need are actionable plans, immediate implementation, not slow deliberation. We can’t just sit around to ‘wait and see’ what will happen next.
What needs to happen now is there must be:
- new and better training protocol,
- assessments, evaluative procedures and processes,[we can test for implicit bias you know]
- a diversity task force- the police policing the police,
- every civilian/citizen complaint gets thoroughly investigated. Citizens should have access to follow-up resources.
- Accountability, transparency. Every law enforcement officer’s police record should be made available for public review.
- Complaint recorded history
- Arrest records for each officer and every department in order that we may identify needed intervention, modification and additional trainings/monitoring
- Pre-service and in-service professional development
- Body cameras that are more effectively stationary[they don’t dislodge during a ‘takedown’]
- Assess for cultural proficiency, ongoing
- Simulated reality-based training activities
- Virtual Reality and Role play[representative, realistic, and
- interpersonal relations and communication skills
- and so forth[I have another suggestion that may help improve community policing and their practices surrounding the black community. Also, my idea, appropriately modified, may improve public relations and ease tense between police and blacks, too. I will outline this in another post.]
Now, how do we educate black children in light of all we know, what we’ve seen, heard and felt over the past week, years, decades, and generational histories?
Until changes, serious widespread changes are made in this country, the children we love are still not safe just being innocent, or not so innocent children.
The reality that has become globally evident, has been a part of parents’ consciousness for so long, yet it feels different now. What has changed, and how are adjustments going to be made? Or will there be any needed adjustments to parenting, teaching, living, surviving and thriving in America as people of color?
Though I can’t relate on a personal level, there is a cultural connection, and with empathy, compassion and 20/20 vision, I know that we are in the midst of a radical shift in this country regarding African Americans and race relations. This brings forth another relevant question, how do we proceed and move forward today? Have we been forward thinking, anticipating change, and creating, designing and outlining actionable plans to advance and demonstrate that we are committed to this new movement?
We’ve made our arguments illustrated them, and the point is clear… now what? We can’t afford to drop back, slow momentum, or rest on awareness alone. Change won’t take place solely on cries or protests alone. Simply because of a newly raised consciousness in America, that does not imply any change. That is, however, the first step towards change.
Next step for us requires planning that will guide this change into the desired direction. We have demonstrated the necessity of systemic change in policing procedures and practices regarding the black community. When do we want the changes? What specific changes are sought?
CHANGE IMPLIES ACTION, BEHAVIOR, ALTERED PERSPECTIVES, and ALTERED REALITY
PLAN FOR CHANGE NOW…The revolution is being televised and brought to us live!