Does anyone know the story about the race riot in Tulsa, OK? The people of Greenwood were tired of being lynched. They were tired of being afraid and doing nothing while their brothers and sisters hung from trees. So they banded together to protect one man who they knew would be hung. Imagine if we did this all over America today. We should be protecting ourselves, each other, and our communities.
This isn’t just to stop/cut back on police brutality, gang violence, or “black on black” crime. We want to live in safe communities too. We want to go jogging through our neighborhoods and let our children play outside without worrying about getting killed. And why can’t we? What’s stopping us? Laziness? Fear? There are far more people in the hood that want to reduce crime than the people who cause it. One of the biggest problems that we have is our “No Snitching” policy.
In Cleveland, OH, four children were shot in ONE month, ages 3 months to 10 years old; 3 of them are dead. A 4-year-old boy was murdered on his porch in Altadena, CA. A 6-year-old, dead by drive-by in South Florida. 6-month-old baby girl shot dead in Detroit, MI. In Chapel Hill, NC a 1-year-old girl is critically injured after being shot in the head by a stray bullet. Most of these incidents happened in 2016 (and there’s still more). The sad part is: almost all of their killers are still out there.
Someone knows something. A mother shouldn’t have to weep over her child’s dead body while the whole block is there to help her grieve yet there were no witnesses. Someone knows something. No one should receive death threats while trying to find their child’s killer. Someone knows something.
This is an opportunity for those nosy neighbors to become appreciated. The people who stay at home all day, the people who want to let their kids play outside but don’t, the people who want to sit on their front porch but can’t, and the people who love their homes but hate the state of their communities. We need to put forth some real effort and keep it consistent if we want to see a change in our neighborhoods.
We need witnesses, names, faces, and testimonies. Where are the fearless? Where are our warriors? Where are the people that are braveenough to do something?To some, you’ll be seen as a snitch but to most, you’ll be seen as a hero/heroine. You’ll be seen as the person who isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right and you’ll also inspire others.
Now you may be wondering how crime prevention programscan help us against police brutality. They usually require us to work with the police and in a best case scenario, we build a healthy relationship with law enforcement. But in a more realistic world, a majority of them want us dead more than anyone else. Our efforts shouldn’t stop when cops are the criminals.
We need to collect as much evidence as possible and one incident won’t be enough. Whether it ends in death or not, we need our own video footage, pictures of injuries, pictures of any property damage, and hardevidence. It may seem like a lot but I also feel like we need voice recordings of everything they say. They’ll act a certain way in front of a camera but say things in a tone that only you can hear. We also need badge numbers, names, and the exact departments and districts these cops reside. This is called building a case.
When Sandra Bland was killed, we began to hear about Waller County’s long history of racism. Which shows, Sandra Bland wasn’t the first colored person to be harassed and murdered by their police officers. The more we document, the easier it will be to convict. Most of these cops are repeat offenders. The more we let them get away with, the worse it gets. Build a case.
For example, take that shirt the officer stretched out, put it in a bag and seal it. Document the incident. Write down what happened to you. Take pictures. Get written testimonies from eye witnesses (and contact information). Any video footage or voice recordings you have should go on a memory card and you need to store it with the rest of your evidence.
Report these officers (document that). Write letters and make phone calls to mayors and senators to let them know about the injustices (document that too) happening in your neighborhood. We have to seek justice no matter how daunting the task may be. We have to have extensive proof that we’re being wronged because just our testimonies and videos aren’t enough.
Community meetings are a must. This is how we’ll stay connected and know what’s going on with one another. This is how we can properly plan boycotts and sit-ins, figure out solutions to our problems, and make suggestions to one another. This is how we conform.
We should be patrolling our streets and making sure that we feel safe. Do you feel like you need proof that this will work?
Instead of running away from our problems we should move towards them. Take pride in your community and stop backing down. Unity is what we need most right now and it can start with one individual. Be that individual.