Things are moving so fast these days. It seems like there’s breaking news damn near every hour, but I want to slow down for a moment and look at what’s happened over the last week. Because believe me, If you don’t take a second to acknowledge the change that’s bubbling, it’s easy to feel defeated. Consider this a virtual “I see you boo, but keep going.”
Let’s get into what’s happened:
The “Justice in Policing Act,” which is backed by 200 democrats, bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants, makes lynching a federal hate crime, eases the process to recover damages from violations to civil rights, allows for independent investigations of abuse of force and would require police departments to hand over use of force data to the government.
Now, this is a start, yes. But there is SO much more that can and should be done. I am under no illusion that is the end-all fix. While this will likely pass in the House, the senate will be a bit more tricky. The fact that this has been proposed, should not be considered a victory or cause to say “well that’s that” as I’ve seen.
In Pennsylvania, Juneteenth was declared a state holiday.
Good, but this should be a federal holiday. Most people, most non-Black people, have no idea what Juneteenth even is, and that’s a problem. Juneteenth is essentially the 4th of July for Black people. Although the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially ended slavery, was issued in 1863; it wasn’t until June of 1865 that the last slaves were made aware that they were free. It’s important to note, that it isn’t lost upon Black people, that this country celebrates a day of freedom (the 4th), in which none of us were actually free. Sure, we enjoy the day off (we deserve it) and spending time with our people, but the way everyone celebrates and high-fives as if it’s OUR freedom day, is a slap in the face, if we’re being honest.
All 4 cops involved in the murder of George Floyd were arrested. Charges for officer Chauvin were upgraded.
You may recall all the talk about there not being enough evidence to arrest, of it being justified and all the shifting of who was going to preside over and prosecute the case. If allowed, meaning, if there wasn’t such public unrest, I’m not sure that they would have been arrested at all.
Getting a conviction, with real prison time, is another story. Let us not forget that 99% of police murders, from 2013-2019, resulted in NO charges being filed. And of that 1% that was charged, most were acquitted. Of the small percentage that was convicted, it was usually for a lesser crime and the sentence was just a slap on the wrist. We cannot, even for a second, let up on having them held accountable.
University of Minneapolis, Minneapolis public schools and Minneapolis parks and rec canceled their contracts with the police. Minneapolis city council announced its plan to disband the police. LA announced its plan to remove $100-$150 million from the police budget and reinvest it into minority communities. Seattle withdraws its request to end federal oversight of its police department. Maryland announced plans for police reform.
This is all good, but I’m sure what most people are thinking about, is whether I agree with disbanding police departments altogether; I do. While police reform is absolutely necessary in our current state, disbanding is an option that has been, and always will be, on the table for me. Politicians should choose their next steps and actions wisely, as we are watching, and if results are unsatisfactory, the simmerings of “disband and defund the police” may turn into a screaming demand.
Confederate statues have been removed either by citizens or by state officials.
I spent a good many years living in Richmond, VA, and all of my friends there have sent me pictures of toppled/desecrated statues, the VERY statues we tried to have removed and often commented on when I lived there. To publicly commemorate people who assisted with and fought for the right to enslave Black people, should never have been a thing to begin with. Take. Them. All. Down.
Breonna Taylor’s case is now being investigated by the FBI.
I am waiting with bated breath for the officers involved in her murder to be charged, tried, and convicted. I’m waiting for all of the Black women, those so often forgotten about, especially in this movement, to have their killers punished. Though so many have forgotten about you all, I haven’t. There is, as always, a chorus of Black women fighting for justice to be served, exhausted as we may be and we will not stop. I’m glad that her case is drawing more attention, but justice isn’t served, until it’s actually served. We’re waiting.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, in fact, you’ve probably seen these and many others on posts floating around social media. But rather, this is to remind you that protests have an impact. As do riots. And together, they are responsible for all of this.
This is to remind you to keep applying pressure, not accept platitudes or hollow actions, and to call it out when you see it.
To remind you to keep talking to your family members and friends about these injustices or encourage you to stand firm in your decision to cut them off.
And while we celebrate small successes, I am reminding you to think long and hard about how it took protests that spanned 18 different countries and every state in the U.S., riots, the removal of once (and still)endeared confederate monuments and the recording and sharing of police brutality at protests to FINALLY start the conversations being had. All of that just to get people to agree to… talk about it/look into it.
We have more work to do, and that may require turning the heat up another notch or ensuring that we have enough fuel to keep it going.
And to those anti-protestors, complaining about the sweat beads that are beginning to form on their upper lip, I would like to refer you to Black proverb 101; don’t start none, won’t be none.
When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.