Defund the Police

“So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in a soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold you get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world.”  Scott Woods

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced he is throwing out plans for a massive police budget hike as support for slashing police department funds grows among activists in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

In New York, more than 40 city council candidates are calling for a $1 billion cut to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget over four years to help fund other programs such as the city’s summer youth employment program.In cities such as Minneapolis, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Nashville, similar movements are gaining traction.” (Source)

What is this idea to “defund the police”?

The basic idea, though, is less that policing budgets should be literally zeroed out than that there should be a massive restructuring of public spending priorities.” (Source: Vox) Articles below:

The Movement To Defund The Police Is Getting Stronger — Here’s Why

Growing calls to “defund the police,” explained

I’d also like to share an organization called Campaign Zero and their #8cantwait project:

Campaign Zero

#8cantwait

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Source
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To learn more about their campaign, their aim, and their research, click here: #8cantwait

Next, here are some experiences and/or video graphics from individuals that are worth reading and/or watching:

Slide set: source.

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Here is a video of an officer from the Buffalo Police Department pushing a 75 year old protester to the ground. As of yesterday, this man was in serious and stable condition. I grew up (ages 8 -27) an hour away from Buffalo and I’m not surprised.

Here’s also a story in regards to the Long Beach Police Department: Photo of Long Beach officer standing over blood with his baton spurs internal investigation

And a video of the NYPD:

Furthermore, I’ve seen a lot of companies release statements about their “sentiments” in regards to the current cultural “climate” (lol Corporate America upholds White Supremacy in wild ways). Out of all the statements I’ve read, Ben & Jerry’s stood out.  The owners of Ben & Jerry’s have a history of standing up for civil rights and have even been arrested for protesting before.

WE MUST DISMANTLE WHITE SUPREMACY: Silence is NOT an Option

All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors. We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd.

George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future.

The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.

The officers who murdered George Floyd, who stole him from those who loved him, must be brought to justice. At the same time, we must embark on the more complicated work of delivering justice for all the victims of state sponsored violence and racism.

Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms. To do that, we are calling for four things:

First, we call upon President Trump, elected officials, and political parties to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation. Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas. The world is watching America’s response.

Second, we call upon the Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.

Third, we support Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. We can’t continue to fund a criminal justice system that perpetuates mass incarceration while at the same time threatens the lives of a whole segment of the population.

And finally, we call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. The DOJ must also reinstate policies rolled back under the Trump Administration, such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.

Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation’s long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.” (Source)

Lastly, Happy Birthday, Breonna Taylor: Why Aren’t We All Talking About the Killing of Breonna Taylor?

¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

Ayé me dijite negro
Y hoy te boy a contejtá:
Mi mai se sienta en la sala.
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

Yo tengo el pelo’e caíyo:
El tuyo ej seda namá;
Tu pai lo tiene bien lasio,
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

Tu coló te salió blanco
Y la mejiya rosá;
Loj lábioj loj tiénej finoj . . .
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

¿Disej que mi bemba ej grande
Y mi pasa colorá?
Pero dijme, por la binge,
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

Como tu nena ej blanquita
La sacaj mucho a pasiá . . .
Y yo con ganae gritate
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

A ti te gujta el fojtrote,
Y a mi brujca maniguá.
Tú te laj tiraj de blanco
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

Erej blanquito enchapao
Que dentraj en sosiedá,
Temiendo que se conojca
La mamá de tu mamá.

Aquí el que no tiene dinga
Tiene mandinga . . ¡ja, ja!
Por eso yo te pregunto
¿Y tu agüela, aonde ejtá?

Ayé me dijite negro
Queriéndome abochoná.
Mi agüela sale a la sala,
Y la tuya oculta ajtá.

La pobre se ejtá muriendo
Al belse tan maltratá.
Que hajta tu perro le ladra
Si acaso a la sala bá.

¡Y bien que yo la conojco!
Se ñama siña Tatá . . .
Tu la ejconde en la cosina,
Po’que ej prieta de a beldá.

Fortunato Vizcarrondo

For those of you that know Spanish and can’t seem to understand this poem, that’s because it’s written in an Afro-Puerto Rican dialect. Here’s some context to this poem my friends:

“The poem tells the story of a black Puerto Rican who “answers” a white-skinned Puerto Rican after the latter calls the Afro-Puerto Rican “black” and “big lipped.” In his answer, the black man describes both his own African attributes while also describing the Caucasian attributes of the white Puerto Rican as well as that person’s light-skinned daughter. All the while the black man keeps asking in nearly every stanza, “… and where is your grandmother?”

The meaning of the question is made clear as the poem develops; the black man notes that his own grandmother “sits in the living room, but yours is kept hidden.” The reason for that is revealed in the last stanza, when the black man tells the world that the “white” Puerto Rican keeps the grandmother hidden in the kitchen because she is so dark-skinned; we also learn that her name is Siña Tatá.

The poem is widely interpreted as an elegant way to identify the racism faced by Puerto Ricans of clear African ancestry from their own people of Caucasian features, but who may have an African ancestor themselves.” (Source)

MLK

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement.” Journal of Social Issues, vol. 24, no. 1, 1968, pp. 1–12.
“Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest.
The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights.
There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal and in Detroit whites and Negroes looted in unity.
A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’ The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos.
Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.”

Let It Burn

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Imagine having spent the past 401 (slavery started in 1619 in the United States) years convincing people that you are worthy of just existing? Imagine having built the major structures in a country, for free? Imagine your free labor being the reason why robber barons like Dale Carnegie and Andrew Rockefeller built empires while you weren’t even given the right to freedom? Imagine being granted the promise of freedom while the systems that shackled you in the first place remained unchanged? Imagine.

And this extends beyond the United States. Our entire world was built on the principles of white supremacy. Colonialism and imperialism served as the drivers that established the modern world we live in. This isn’t “new”. This isn’t about “When did race relations become so bad in the United States?”. Nah. This is about the history of the world being exposed. Hundreds of years of atrocities that were buried in the white shadow remain in the blood and subconscious of black people. Trauma passed on from generation to generation, unresolved; No respite, no change – just further oppression as time passes. They have not forgotten. They are tired. They are enraged. Rightfully so. White supremacy established systems of economics and governance that use oppression and authoritarianism as the main vehicles of maintaining “order”.

For how much longer will success, well-being, intelligence, beauty, and livelihood be defined by the standards of white supremacy? For how much longer will order be more important than justice? For how much longer will people have to conform to a certain ideal of “how to behave” to be granted dignity?

As we are witnessing today, not for too much longer. People are tired. People are are enraged. People are fed up. Rage is the least that you can expect from a people that have been deemed worthless for hundreds of years. What the fuck else do you expect? There is no going back to “normal”. Want to know why? Because normal is a patriarchy that uses the tools of oppression (capitalism, militarization of law enforcement, etc.) to enforce the pillars of white supremacy.

Support the black community. Support them with your money. Support them by listening to their stories. Support them with your bodies. Support them by not telling them how they should behave.