Brooklyn, NY – Thousands of New Yorkers joined by religious leaders and elected officials gathered at Brooklyn Borough Hall on June 9, 2020 for a massive march over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, demanding Justice for all victims of police brutality making a loud call to defund the NYPD and invest in communities.
Given the events of the past week in New York City, it is clear that we need to find ways to reimagine policing in New York City, and we can’t begin to do that as long as the NYPD is a behemoth devouring the funding we need to build alternatives. But the seismic shift that occurred in Minneapolis on Sunday has shown us that real, radical change is possible if we can seize this moment.
After a week of defending the NYPD, Mayor de Blasio acknowledged the need to cut their budget and reinvest in community needs. Today, the New York State legislature will defy police unions and continue to pass a package of bills to address police misconduct, including repealing “50-A,” a law that hid the disciplinary records of police officers. And, in under a week, over 7,000 of you signed a petition to defund police and invest in communities.
While we continue to feel and participate in the rage and pain of the protests last week, and the long history of abuse that led to them, we must keep the pressure on to demand a dramatic decrease in police budgets and a reinvestment in critical community needs.
We must reverse the decades of expanding the scope of policing while neglecting the institutions needed to help our communities and those in need of care not criminalization.
From Buffalo to Brooklyn we have seen a week of police violence and suppression that my community has always felt. Too many Black and Brown New Yorkers experience violence, over-policing and murder by the police.
For decades our communities have experienced Stop & Frisk, racialized enforcement of marijuana, and arrested/criminalized for ‘quality of life’ issues of poverty. We have seen people living with mental health complexities be killed by police when they should have been provided care.
We have witnessed struggling immigrant street vendors taken away in handcuffs. The NYPD hasn’t provided safety to our communities, but instead has made us feel less safe.
Despite national demands to provide care to our communities, our city continues to turn to policing and criminalization to solve social issues created from long-standing divestment and neglect.
We must reinvest this money into tackling critical issues like our city’s homelessness and overdose crisis, growing income inequality and extreme poverty. Black and Latinx deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the impact of how divestment from communities of color guarantees devastating public health outcomes. Our city and nation is calling for change now.
© Erik McGregor – firstname.lastname@example.org – 917-225-8963