The decision by the Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown, has provoked a firestorm of protest around the country. The decision, in essence, blames the victim and exonerates the officer. In doing so, it gives cover to police to continue the systemic killing of young black men. (The decision also has sparked a national conversation about how black men are seen as criminals by society.)
We know that one bad apple won’t spoil the whole bunch, but it’s a serious problem when a child in our city is getting shot by a police officer, on average, every 13 days. The shooting of a 6-year-old boy in Ohio, who was shot in his front yard, while playing with a toy gun, is just another example.
I’m here, after all the shit that’s happened this week…
Black people are not safe and will never be safe under the current criminal justice system (I’ll explain why I put that word in quotes later). It is an evil, it still carries with it the tradition and cruelty of its origins in the form of slave patrols in the Southern Confederacy, and at the very least it should be reconsidered or abolished altogether.
In the United States, the police originated from slave patrols. Why are we trying to reform or redefine it?
– UNIDENTIFIED MALE AND UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLITICS, RESTORE OUR PUBLICATIONS (@BreeNewsome) April 13, 2021.
And justice was not served by the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. This was just one example of a flagrant police officer finally being prosecuted for the murder of a black man. But that doesn’t make up for the hundreds of thousands who have died over the past 402 years. We want justice that honors the legacy of victims in the form of policies and practices that protect us now and in the future.
I started with these points because I found too many insinuations: You found him guilty of murdering all of you… Now we can relax on social media. I don’t want people to take this story and crawl back on their couches, as if the fight for black lives is over. Shortly after the verdict was announced, a Columbus, Ohio, police officer shot and killed 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.
Get some #PEEPLESPOWER pic.twitter.com/6WerjQ5zTn
– PeeplesVoice (@PeeplesChoice85) April 21, 2021
This is not justice and it is not peace.
And I don’t want the gatekeepers of the system to think that they’ve made Chauvin the sacrificial lamb for all the other homicidal cops, and make us believe that the days of police terrorism are over and America is finally free – as they say in the Black Baptist Church.
But I will tell you where real justice can begin – with our young people rethinking safety in their schools and communities. For they are not only killing black bodies, but also the spirits of those of us who must endure the fear and trauma of their terror – especially our children – and it is high time that they got over it.
@LaJoyLaw1 @ZakiyaChinyere @msparrishspeaks @YolandaCorbett5 @AngieSpeight1 @FariTumpe202 @PeeplesChoice85 @mcSYCdc #PAATDown202 #WeTheMotherhood https://t.co/xI5z6VNMHF
– Chioma Oruh (@ChiBornfree) April 22, 2021
Parents, activists, allies and advocates, we are back on the march.
Grab this bag for child justice
School districts are about to receive incentives under the Save America Plan, which gives us an opportunity to tell them what to do with these coins. Here in Chicago, we’re already working.
Chicago!!! The Black Community Collaborative is hosting a public meeting next week on the allocation of $1.8 billion to @ChiPubSchools under the #AmericaRescuePlan. We want to hear your opinion on the specific areas that should be addressed, so please join the discussion.
Details below! pic.twitter.com/9kGU8Tq30C
– PeeplesVoice (@PeeplesChoice85) April 22, 2021
In this conversation and in our pursuit of justice for children, we must first define what that is and how it manifests itself in our schools. To me, justice for children means correcting and addressing the systemic harms and biases against our most vulnerable children through meaningful investments in areas that promote their social determinants of health. Most importantly, they are treated as individuals capable of performing and succeeding at the highest level.
So when I think about what that means in public education, the first thing that comes to mind is ensuring that every student has access to appropriate mental health services.
The report, prepared by the Congressional Black Caucus, is titled A Call to Alarm: The Suicide Crisis of Black Youth in America, finds that from 1991 to 2017, suicide attempts among black youth increased by 73%. Given the isolation, the higher mortality rate in our community due to the virus, and the increased exposure to violence against people like them, I shudder to think what those numbers are today. But it does prove why more mental health care is needed, especially in our schools.
It also looks like real and deep community involvement and the creation of community schools.
I want you all to believe and think that the poverty pimps are already salivating and bidding for this money. These are the usual non-profits, teachers unions, clandestine and microwave consultants, nepotistically selected individuals, etc. who have done and will do nothing for our children. Therefore, we must advocate for and insist on working with community organizations and individuals who have gained a true understanding of the students and families of these schools and who can demonstrate their effectiveness.
Police and juvenile justice don’t get along
Police and guards should be banned from schools. No ifs, ands or buts.
If that argument didn’t convince you when it was made after Jerog Floyd’s murder, consider the case of 16-year-old Taylor Bracey, who was beaten on the sidewalk by a school security guard, resulting in a concussion, memory loss, sleep deprivation, blurred vision and headaches. She will always be pursued and provoked by communications with this officer.
These black cops continue to brutalize our black youth! We need to put an end to this NOW !!!!.
Florida teen stabbed by school security guard is traumatized, family says – ABC News via @ABC – https://t.co/JUHWaMpOlw
– HeavensCoverGirl (@MelRMDance) 31. January 2021
To get back to why I put the word law enforcement in quotes and mentioned the first slave patrols – the law enforcement system is there to introduce racism and oppression, dassit. Laws have always disproportionately targeted and disadvantaged blacks, just as unfair disciplinary practices have targeted black children in schools. And this idea of protecting public safety is false when their presence creates fear, perpetuates a prison culture in schools, and traumatizes our children. None of this seems certain.
Finally, we must hold these provinces to their promise to forgo police funding, because that money must be used not only to provide incentives, but also to address the capacity shortfall.
If justice for children is about investing in the creation of safe environments that are conducive to the learning and development of the whole child, then the police do not fit into this picture.
This includes the provision of stable housing for homeless students, nutritious meals and appropriate supplies and safety protocols during COVID, access to health care with at least one nurse at each school, tutoring, diversity in the classroom. All of this, and more, is covered by the juvenile justice system. All we deserve is everything we asked for but didn’t get, or that these provinces and governments have been slow to move forward. This is what justice looks like for children.
This is no time to relax at the bar. If anything, it’s time to show up. Because again, justice may not have prevailed, but this hint of a movement to change historical systems of oppression certainly makes the gatekeepers roll their eyes and want to keep things the same by any means necessary.
So if this country is serious about making progress on race relations and finally fulfilling its promise of freedom and justice for all, it is time not only for justice for the children, but for restorative justice for the entire black community.
This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about three ways a police officer can be held accountable for their actions and let us know what you think.