Support the police reform bill
In America, there is a huge problem with how police officers use force when they come in contact with people of color. According to ABC News, in the U.S., only about 15-17% of police departments practice de-escalation techniques. This means that the majority of officers in the U.S are not trained to calm a situation down before using deadly force, so police brutality is inevitable. To ensure the safety of the people who live here, specifically people of color, these forms of training should be mandatory in every state.
According to YaleNews, “Among unarmed victims, Black people were killed at three times the rate, and Hispanics at 1.45 times the rate of white people” This isn’t what our democracy should represent, and it shouldn’t be acceptable.
It is tragic seeing all of the lives lost due to police brutality, but more so for Black people, who have been discriminated against for over 250 years, starting with slavery. They were counted as three-fifths of a person and were denied the right to vote. To make our society more just, we had the 15th Amendment, the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act. But we need more protection. A recent article in the journal Nature noted the role of “racial bias in society, as evidenced in the months leading up to Floyd’s murder by the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old Black man, Ahmaud Arbery, by two white men while he was jogging in Georgia, and by a white woman’s 911 call to falsely report being threatened by a Black birdwatcher in New York City’s Central Park.”
While people of color are the ones looked at as the threats to society, it has been completely ignored how white people have been oppressors as well as the main threat to people of color.
Police brutality and the lack of training to de-escalate an issue before using a deadly weapon is why Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’ Police Reform Act is needed in Massachusetts. This legislation will require the use of de-escalation tactics, as well as restrict the use of deadly force to only situations that absolutely require them. This act will help people feel more protected and less like the system is being built against them, which is how they feel now.
As youth leaders of the Hyde Square Task Force, we urge all residents to support Senator Chang-Diaz’ bill.
Ana Bodre and Jakayla Furr are youth leaders in the Hyde Square Task Force.