Hey. I know you're struggling with a lot of emotions right now after seeing an officer of the law kneel down and knowingly murder a black man in broad daylight.
If you are in a position to do so, take action. You may make some mis-steps. I make them too. We are human. Don't let that stop you from continuing the road. You will learn from your mistakes and you will do better next time.
Below are a few ideas of ways to start to take action. I'm sure you've got a lot of ideas too. Please share them with me so I can add them here?
1. Don't teach your kids to be colorblind.
Some great young adult novels:
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
(The adult version: How to be an anti-racist, by Ibram X. Kendi)
This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewel
An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz
Woke: a Young Poet's Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
On The Come Up by Angie Thomas
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America by Ibi Zoboi
2. Vote with your Dollars
Free the 350 This Bailfund seeks to prioritize bailing out Black people incarcerated in the Dane County jail system, and also seeks to end the unjust and antiquated prison and jail system in general.
Freedom Inc Madison, WI
Urban Triage Madison, WI
Progress Center for Black Women Madison, WI
Support Black Owned Businesses.
Perfect Imperfections (Madison, WI)
3. Vote in State and Local Elections
"The elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels."
4. Sign Petitions
6. Write to your public officials, elected or otherwise.
For an easy "bot" that helps you send messages to your elected officials through text, text "RESIST" to 50409.
The following is from "Color of Change." Ideas for what your letter to them might contain below from "Color of Change." Color of Change is building a movement to elevate the voices of Black folks and our allies, and win real social and political change:
We are calling on public officials to adopt the following demands:
Strengthen police use-of-force policies to protect human life and rights.
- Limit the use of deadly force to situations where there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury and require officers to exhaust all other measures before resorting to deadly force.
- Require a duty for officers to intervene when other officers are inappropriately using physical force or when the use of force is no longer required.
- Lower the standard of proof for Department of Justice civil rights investigations of police officers.
- Fund reliable federal tracking and reporting of all incidents involving the use of deadly force by law enforcement, whether lethal or not.
End ‘broken windows’ policing and stop unnecessary prosecution of low-level offenses.
- Decriminalize activities that pose no threat to public safety including, but not limited to, disorderly conduct, trespassing, loitering, marijuana possession, disturbing the peace, petty theft, fare evasion, and other misdemeanor offenses.
- Prevent racial profiling and police interventions solely based on "suspicion" of one’s Blackness or other aspects of their identity.
Establish effective civilian oversight boards with investigative and subpoena powers.
- Create and publicize easily accessible methods for civilians to submit, view, and discuss complaints.
- Ensure civilian oversight boards have the power to interrogate officers, access crime scenes, subpoena witnesses and files with penalties for non-compliance, make disciplinary and policy recommendations to the police chief and prosecuting attorney, and compel the police chief and prosecuting attorney to explain why they have not followed a recommendation.
- Ensure that civilian oversight boards exclude current or retired law enforcement from membership.
Respond to mental health crises with healthcare, not policing responses.
- Establish non-police interventions to crises involving homelessness, intoxication, disorientation, substance abuse, and mental health.
- Ensure that the role of mental illness in fatal police shootings is identified and reported in government data collection.
Require independent investigations in all cases where police kill or seriously injure people.
- Establish a permanent special prosecutor’s office at the state and/or federal level for cases of police use of physical force and an oversight board that includes civilians with the power to appoint and supervise the special prosecutor.
- Local prosecutors should establish a special unit to investigate police misconduct. The unit should be isolated from other parts of the office that work too closely with police to hold them accountable.
End the profit motive in policing.
- Ban municipalities from generating more than 10% of total revenue from fines and fees, and prohibit the collection of fines and fees from individuals on probation or parole and for failure to appear in court for traffic citations.
- End police department quotas for tickets and arrests.
- Prohibit police from seizing money and property from individuals unless they are convicted of a crime and there is clear and convincing evidence that the property is related to the crime.
- Require police departments to bear the cost of misconduct by requiring settlements to be paid out of the police department budget rather than the city’s general fund.
Invest in healthy communities not policing
- Decrease police department budgets.
- Increase investment in education, healthcare, jobs, and housing for communities hardest hit by crime, police violence, and over-incarceration.
- Increase funding for community-based solutions to crime and violence.
Do away with unfair protections for officers in police union contracts and Law Enforcement Officers’ ‘Bills of Rights.’
- Remove provisions that create barriers to effective misconduct investigations and civilian oversight of police activity.
- Remove provisions that prevent police departments and members of the public from accessing officers’ disciplinary history.
- Remove provisions that require or allow officers that kill or seriously injure people to continue to be paid while they are under investigation or on suspension.
Increase transparency and accountability for officers with records of misconduct.
Make misconduct records easily accessible by the public.
Build a national registry of police who have been recommended for termination due to misconduct.
Prosecutors’ offices must develop ‘do not call’ lists of police with records of misconduct to prevent them from participating in future prosecutions.
5. Read, Listen, Learn, Get Uncomfortable
Melyssa Griffin created this introductory guide to anti-racism for white people (with a ton of links to other resources.)
White Fragility: Why it's so hard for white people to talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Netflix released a great documentary on the history of racial injustice in the United States.