This is a time of change for our society
I am writing to express my deeply held solidarity with the protests that are amassing all over planet Earth. I won't tell you whether I am black, brown or white, male or female. It isn't necessary for me to point out an inescapable fact of birth. That's obvious.
But another inescapable fact of birth is that we are all human. And because of the connectedness in the human species, what I do to one human being, I do to all human beings. To try to distance oneself from the desperation and call for justice that is being played out on city streets is to deny one's own humanity. To kill another human being is to kill part of oneself; to try to lift another human being up is to lift oneself up.
There is a way to stop brutality, injustice and inequality: to remember that we truly share a humanity that expresses ineffable vulnerability yet lives side by side with a spirit of creativity, innovation and deep connection. This moment of history that we're living in is part of a big picture of transition: for society and for each of us as individuals who do have the power to make changes for the good of all.
M. E. Weick
Changes to policing are moves in right direction
I woke this morning, thinking about what I would say to the Portland City Council and the Portland Police, if I had the chance — I had a list of things that needed to change, and my ideas about the best way to achieve the changes to our police and government structures that many in the Portland community desperately want to see happen.
Then, the world changed, in a small but important way. I opened the front page and was greeted by the headline
Wheeler: Defund three police units
Great! Fantastic! My job for the day was done. The was no reason to list out the things that needed to change; the mayor already knows what the next steps need to be and what is required to achieve peace and community. The headlines told me so! The police administration also knows, as evidenced by the changing of the guard over the weekend. Finally, the mayor and the police are on the same page as many in the Portland community and many of the protesters in the streets:
Move the money from things that endanger civil society and work together with new leadership, to use those funds to serve the commons, helping the community heal itself and grow together.
We all know what changes are necessary. Now we just need the dialogue to talk about what the community wants the future to look like, the will, both political and moral, to write those new policies, and the resolve to see those changes happen.
The community will only wait so much longer for our leaders to change the course of the city. We will be watching, waiting for you to ask us for our input and ideas.
Shift policing money to other agencies
I am writing to you today to express my concern regarding the use of force in the aftermath of the national protests surround the last 200 years of black oppression and racism in Oregon and the United States.
My aim in writing this is to urge (elected leaders) to not only defund Portland Police Bureau but to reinvest those potentially millions of dollars in bureau money and reallocate it to state- and city-based agencies that are working on community-based health and safety initiatives. Real change comes from lifting people out of poverty and reducing domestic violence. Change comes from funding schools and providing job training and higher education access. And change comes from people in the community acting as liaisons to the community and not enforcers of state power masquerading as "cleanup" or as last-minute "interventionists" after things go wrong.
Police are not equipped to handle community change because the public trust has eroded to the point where we need better and more capable leaders. Take this seriously, don't increase the police budget expecting results to change, unless you think that increasing the police budget and retraining or imposing new strict rules on the police force to mitigate violence is possible. Do the right thing, many families are counting on you to lead. Don't let them down.
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