I wanted to share with you all today a letter I am sending in some form or another to my national/state/local officials. We have to put pressure on this system in order to change the system. I challenge you all to write letters and make your voice heard. Be willing to act, to bring about change to protect your family or to protect the vulnerable in our society. You want to make America Great Again? Then let us ensure that the poor and unrepresented get due process under the law. Let’s ask for reform so that police officers have the training and tools they need to protect and serve not to simply use deadly force as judge, jury, and executioner. Let us find a way to build trust between our community and law enforcement. Let us encourage the use of non-lethal force and community partnerships. We need to take back our community. We need to get our hands dirty. We need to show our faces in city hall and at the police station. We have to tear down the silos and barriers that lead to fear, mistrust, and violence.
The birth of our nation started with these words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.
Here is a sample of my letter. Please draft you own.
Today is a difficult day for me as I watch a series of questionable shootings of African-American men. While the facts unfold, I am fearful for my safety and the safety of my fifteen year old son. I am an African-American man; a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy; an honorably discharged veteran; and I am economically upper middle class. I have no criminal record, yet I am concerned that a routine traffic stop could be the end of my life.
Our community needs your help in ensuring that regardless of race, color, or creed, our sons and daughters have the same privileges and fair treatment under the law as their white counterparts. Driving while black, should not be against the law. God forbid that a person of color does commit a crime, they should be treated with all the due process afforded under the constitution. A police officer should not have the power to be judge, jury, and executioner.
I ask you the following questions:
- What is the (national/state/local) government willing to do to help train local law enforcement? Deadly force can no longer the first option. It should be a last resort.
- Are there (national/state/local) standards in place to train officers in due process and racial/cultural awareness? I wonder if ignorance of cultural differences is leading to the mistrust and disproportionate use of deadly force on people of color.
- What legislation is in place or are you willing to put in place to hold police departments accountable in shootings? We need outside investigators to ensure these questionable shootings are justified. The cost of having unqualified police officers on the street is too high. We all lose. We as citizens need to believe in the moniker, “To Protect and Serve.” It has to apply to all citizens.
- Does a legally obtained concealed carry permit give police an excuse to kill an African-American male? Should they be wary of legally carrying?
- What can I do to help to bring about change? My life and the life of my children are worth fighting for.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.
Please share and act. I am not asking you to make a Facebook video, do push-ups, post pictures, or dump ice on your body. Write, call, or march in your local community. Shake the trees for justice. Hold the elected officials and those on tax payrolls accountable. And for heaven’s sake, if you are a young black male stopped by the cops:
GET ON THE GROUND; DON’T MOVE; DON’T ARGUE
to fight another day.
We will not be complicit in our own destruction.
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 (NIV)