The relationship between police and the citizens of our country has become increasingly worse in recent years. The traditional purposes of police organizations are: protecting life and property, preserving the peace, preventing criminality, and apprehending criminals. As many of us have witnessed recently, this is not the case. For too long, police brutality has affected and harmed too many people. Black, Indigenous, and people of color deserve to feel safe in their communities. Most don’t even feel safe in their own skin. But this is nothing new. Racism in America has modernized itself throughout time. I’m writing today to show you the reality of the world we live in - and the racist foundations our criminal justice system was built on.
WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN OUR COMMUNITY
In the past year, WCCAR has been making some amazing strides towards fighting racism and helping educate our community on the importance of anti-racist work. In July 2020, we joined the Delano BLM March. Even in the scorching heat, it was a huge success. It was amazing to see how many people showed up and hear all of the amazing speakers tell their stories. This was just the beginning. Since then, we’ve officially become a non-profit organization. We’ve had some amazing book club and movie discussions. And, we’ve gained a bunch of awesome new people to our group!
History of Racial Justice
During the 1960s, crime increased at a phenomenal rate. As crime increased, so did the demands for its reduction. The civil rights movement created additional demands for the police. Riots engulfed almost every major city from 1964 to 1968.
The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders identified institutional racism as the underlying cause of the riots (in areas such as housing, unemployment, and unequal justice). The events of the 1960s forced the police, politicians, and policymakers to reassess the state of law enforcement in the United States.
What The Statistics Say Today
Between 75-85% of police-citizen encounters are generated by citizens calling for police services. Part of the reforms in the past few decades have pushed greater community involvement in policing. This push is based on a few premises: police authority is derived from the people, and a cooperative public is needed for controlling crime and maintaining order. Additionally, when the problems within social control become more complex, the police role also becomes more complex. With an increase of complexity in both areas, law enforcement’s response to this tends to proliferate rather than consolidate.
There are also many examples of underlying racism in the media today. Racial/ethnic minorities account for more than half of all suspects shown on criminal-based television programs. Research also indicates that race can impact the amount of news coverage crime victims might receive.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
In the media, and in reality, there is evidence of racism almost everywhere you turn. BIPOC communities have been hurting for hundreds of years. In America’s criminal justice system, they have been targeted for decades. The racism that was implemented in our criminal justice system decades ago is still affecting those communities today. It’s a big problem - one that needs to be talked about more. The corrupt and racist criminal justice system is not something that we can fix overnight, but it needs to change - and change starts with you.
Within WCCAR, we have goals to combat racism in this country and our community by working and learning together. We have conversations together at least once a month to talk about the next steps, our goals, check in with each other, and hold each other accountable. It is serious work and hard work, but necessary work.
The fight for equality is far from over.
Interested in learning more about how you can join us to create meaning and change to Wright County? Join us! Subscribe to our site to learn how to become a member.