The history of systemic racism is older than our nation, and it continues to manifest itself in modern day society. The first slaves were brought to the colonies almost 400 years ago. Americans fought to end slavery in the Civil War. They marched for equal rights during the Civil Rights movement. Now, once again, the cry is being raised for equality, dignity, and fair treatment under the law, and we must meet that challenge.
No one else can understand the lived experience of Black Americans — walking, jogging, driving, and sleeping have become activities that can lead to serious harm or death. This is not new, but because of modern technology we now know their names:
Ahmaud Arbery was gunned down while on a jog in Georgia. Breonna Taylor was shot by Louisville police while asleep in her own bed. Tony McDade was asked to not move, complied, and was still shot. George Floyd died gasping for breath murdered by the knees of a police officer whose job it was to protect and serve.
How can we have an America that believes in justice for all when we have such blatant prejudice? We must enact real, definitive, long-lasting change if we want to ensure that no more precious American lives are tragically lost every year. The work that began during the Civil Rights movement and has continued in the decades since is far from over. So long as Americans are unjustly harmed, there is still work to do. Let us find solutions together.
Reallocation of some, but not all, funds away from police departments to social services and reduce their contact with the public to reduce the likelihood of police violence. I support the call for mental health professionals to be installed as part of every police department. Police officers do not have the years of training and skill to best handle situations involving emotionally distraught people. Having mental health professionals available to assist in domestic disputes or cases where an individual has a mental illness or mental disability can save lives. Funding should be distributed to address the root cause of crime within the community from multiple viewpoints, such as to create new skills, food programs, and/or coding programs that would provide education opportunities for the youth and lead to a better future.
I also believe we need to demilitarize the police: I am against the push by the military industrial complex to increase spending on defense.
I support the creation of independent civilian review boards and auditors for law enforcement agencies, which have the authority to make effective, long term changes. People need to be empowered to make the changes that will make their neighborhoods safe, and police need to be held accountable to their charges in order to ensure that all people have equal safety, dignity, and rights in the face of law enforcement.
Communities must have confidence in the system of accountability. Offenses must be met with just and reasonable consequences. Police officers who break the law must be held accountable to the fullest extent, without loopholes. When we train and entrust someone with weapons and power, they must be held to the highest standard. They must both protect and serve.
I support policies that require body cameras for every police officer. Body cams protect both officers and civilians, by providing concrete evidence during controversial events. These body cameras must be kept on throughout every encounter. But we don't just need to ensure the existence of body cams — we need to improve upon the existing technology to ensure that all videos captured are promptly uploaded to the cloud and maintained for a finite period of time. We must evaluate all forms of evidence available to ensure that justice is carried out whenever necessary.
Police officers with records of proven misconduct must be fired, not promoted or transferred to another department. Also, we must develop a publicly available database for tracking police misconduct. We cannot allow the records of officer misconduct to be hidden from public view. Each bullet fired from a cop's gun should be investigated. Each bullet shot should have a viable reason, and if a cop cannot properly justify using violent force, they should be held accountable. Guns are killing machines, and we should do a much better job treating them as such.
I call for higher standards for recruits, and regular mental health check-ups for all officers. I encourage increased anti-bias, de-escalation, and cultural awareness training. We have the obligation to make sure that those who are entrusted with great responsibility to protect and serve are worthy of that trust. I also support a residency requirement: every police officer should ideally live in the community where they are assigned to serve and protect. Providing opportunities for law enforcement to interact with neighbors should be part of the norm. Police officers who live in and know the community in which they work are less likely to be a danger to the residents of that community.
In the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “No one is free until we are all free.” We must stand together to assure the safety and rights for everyone.
As a person of color myself, I have long spoken for civil rights and stood up for disadvantaged communities of Silicon Valley. I launched the no-charge Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for youth across Silicon Valley, benefitting thousands of disadvantaged students. By teaming up with San Jose's Mayor Sam Liccardo, we were able to implement this pathway to empowerment and learning through STEM in many low-income areas of San Jose. I have also hosted the no-charge Lego Robotics Bootcamp for many years to teach robotic design and programming. As a member of the California Computer Science Strategic Implementation Panel, a California Department of Education initiative, we rolled out a K-12 Computer Science curriculum for every K-12 Public School student in California, to go-live in 2022. If we can begin to provide opportunities to all youth, regardless of their family's income level, we can begin to level the playing field in high intensity areas like Silicon Valley.
We have talked about racism and police brutality on Reality Check with Rishi Kumar.
Have a look what your neighbors are saying
Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/
NAACP Legal Defense Fund: https://www.naacpldf.org/
Reclaim the Block: https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home
The Sentencing Project: https://www.sentencingproject.org
New York Times
Resources below are compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020. (From this point to “Sarah Compilation End”)
This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, start now. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.
Here is a shorter link to the original source: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES
To take immediate action to fight for Breonna Taylor, please visit FightForBreonna.org .
Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:
Articles to read:
Videos to watch:
Podcasts to subscribe to:
Books to read:
Films and TV series to watch:
Organizations to follow on social media:
More anti-racism resources to check out:
Compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020. (All above)