The latest events across the country has given me pause. After following Shaun King on social media for less than a year, I have seen more horribly bad incidents than in all my life. So today’s post is not about or related to drawing. I feel a need to use my internet space to say something about what each of us can do.
Prayer Is Not a Last Response
The most effective and important thing to do is pray and consider that the Word is a weapon.
I heard someone say that praying is a spiritual cop out. but I believe that the opposite is true. Praying is actually the best and first thing to do in all situations. Although I forget to do this often, I know there is no better plan. Your view on this reflects how much faith you have. How powerful do you suppose the Most High is?
For a sermon on how to tackle this problem on a spiritual level and the perspective of our Creator on the issue of class and race click here. I have enjoyed it twice.
What we are actually battling is on a spiritual realm. We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. -Ephesians 6:12
It boils down to kindness. I just read an article that advises us to stay informed about what is going on in the world, but to choose wisely when it comes to sources of information. Comprehend the reality of what people around the world are experiencing; understand what your privileges are and what your obligations to other living beings and the planet might be.
14 Other Things You Can Do to End Police Brutality
Since the public killings in the media this month, I have been learning dozens of ways to push for justice in policing beyond protesting. I have listed 15 of them here:
Know the local policy makers and your rights.
Be familiar with how to conduct yourself if you are stopped by the police. For 10 tips from a retired sergeant read this article.
- Stay calm and be polite.
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel.
- Do not lie or give false documents.
- Remember the details of the encounter – write down everything you remember.
- Do file a written complaint or call your local ACLU if you feel your rights have been violated.
Record the police.
- Dash cams, and body cams may be useful if there are systems in place to manage the recordings and regulate when the officer can turn the camera on or off. On the other hand, you may be more concerned about what is being surveilled when no one is being stopped.
- The right to record police encounters must be protected. Bystander videos are the best since they show a view of the officers involved as well as the person being detained/arrested. Although you may want to consider the unhelpful effect recording might have if you are the one being stopped.
Share videos of brutality.
Write to your representatives.
Push your city government to commit to well defined steps to increase understanding and accountability in police conduct.
- through petitions
- letter writing campaigns,
- city council meetings,
- town hall meetings
Take legal action against the police. Every incident of police brutality should be reported to government and the media.
Vote out politicians that overlook police brutality.
Vote for city government officials that have plans for reform.
Support legal defense funds and activism groups. Support effective groups that are working to dialogue with the police.
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement
- Communities United Against Police Brutality
- National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers for Justice Reform and Accountability
Insist that lawmakers remove “failure to appear” charges for municipal court.
Pressure your mayor and city council to:
- cut ties between police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies (ICE).
- change misdemeanors to civil infractions whenever possible to save money on enforcing and prosecuting low-level, non-violent offenses with no victims.
- have adequately funded community/civilian oversight agencies with investigatory and disciplinary powers.
- maintain a public searchable database of every stop while maintaining the privacy of those involved.
- require law enforcement officials to:
- guide addicts and those with mental illness into treatment programs.
- know when searches are legal or illegal.
- be members of the community, not just armed patrolmen.
- attend mandatory sensitivity and non-violent de-escalation training
Download the toolkit:
- The toolkit is a comprehensive and well designed list of resources on what you can do, what has worked in other areas, and what agencies to reach out to. It covers 15 policy reforms in detail.
Improve the quality of your neighborhood:
Recently I saw a video of an interaction with the police and two young black men. The policeman said, “People like us in the nice neighborhoods.” There is some truth in that. Neighborhoods that have been ravaged by the criminal justice system are prone to a list of problems. One of them is blight.
There is a documentary about the renovation of Cody High School and that neighborhood in Detroit. It highlights a student commenting on the relationship between crime and the condition of the neighborhood. Looking at blighted areas can have an adverse effect on your spirit and the behavior of others. I know that this is true from experience. It will be effective to polish the neighborhoods where we live.
Bishop T.D. Jakes published an article about 5 people to be sure to meet to improve the quality of your neighborhood.
- school superintendent
- mail courier
- city council member
- director of parks and recreation
- chamber of commerce member
The Real Facts Will Not be Televised
The data about which citizens are being searched arrested and and put in prison is staggering. The numbers talk. Brown people, especially black men are being harassed, brutalized and taken out in full view on video. Although the cameras are new, the violence is not new.
In the past I have made sure to avoid watching the video. Instead I would read the details on the internet. Years ago I saw the Rodney King video and it changed me. Earlier this month I saw the videos of Alton Sterling and Orlando Castile without meaning to. Then on purpose I watched the Sandra Bland video. It has 10,000 times more information. And it cut me deeper.
The videos and the data are helpful in getting a sense of the size of the problem. I used to watch the news every day and I never had an accurate perspective. My experiences with the police is not comparable to what is being suffered by my male or darker counterparts. I am ashamed to say I that I have been so dumb.
For the record if anything happens to me, there is no way I killed myself. I have high hopes for my future and things are looking up.
In response to those that say all lives matter, I would say…not yet.