Today’s topic- Write a letter to someone, anyone.
This one is hard. I couldn’t figure out who would be the receiver of this letter.
Dear Police Departments in America,
I have been watching over the past few years as more and more videos are revealing to everyone, what black people have known all along. We are disproportionately shot and killed by police, due to racial bias. We seem to fit the description, even if we are not guilty of doing anything. Our skin color appears to be a weapon to you. We cannot remove it. You are being called to take us away for doing minor things that are not breaking the law. Is there one law for white people and another for people of color?
We cannot sit in a car, own a licensed gun, make an error on the road, sell DVD’s or loose cigarettes. We can’t wear hoodies or run in the rain. We can’t run for a bus, ring a doorbell and ask for directions. We can’t hold a cell phone or a wallet. We can’t ride a train to a wine vineyard and laugh too loudly. We cannot question paying for plastic utensils or question you as to why we are being arrested without being violently knocked to the ground to be handcuffed.
We can’t sit in Starbucks doing exactly what everyone is doing. We can’t even go golfing without you being called because we are golfing too slowly in someone else’s eyes. We can’t live in our newly gentrified neighborhoods, doing what we’ve always done without you and your colleagues showing up in force.
Please tell me how you are training your people? White people can commit crimes, shoot people and known to be armed. These people are taken away without a scratch on them.
A black person is holding a cellphone and is riddled with 10 bullets in the back. A black person reaching for their wallet is killed with 41 shots. The officers who are murdering innocent black people are rarely convicted of any crime. They get to keep their lives, jobs and pensions. Sometimes, they get promoted. If they get fired, they find another position in different department. The families of people murdered by the state are never the same and seek justice they rarely receive.
There has to be a way to weed out biased and easily terrified people out of your ranks before they get a gun and badge. People who “fear for their lives” and always shoot to kill should not be on the job. Maybe you should have more police of color working in neighborhoods of color. Do you get psychological counseling before you are hired? Is there a question asking if you were bullied in school? Are you asked if you fear people of color? Why do you want to be a police officer? Your job is dangerous, but if you are afraid of danger, this is not the career for you.
There must be a way for black people and the police to co-exist without deadly force. What are your suggestions? Surely you know that our lives are valuable. Surely you know, that we feel, live and breathe just like you. We do not deserve to be killed by those sworn to protect and serve us.
We don’t hate the police, but we are increasingly becoming afraid of you. We may want to run when we see you. That doesn’t mean we are guilty of anything. We are afraid to be another hashtag and statistic. We don’t want to be another life taken too soon. A visit to the dentist is more welcome than an encounter with the police. We have to have special discussions with our children on how to survive police encounters and make it home alive. This should not be our relationship.
We want to find a way to work together for the good of everyone. We want to live long, healthy and productive lives. We want to be with our families. How can we make effective change?
A Representative for Black America