There is no need to repeat the horrors the Black and police communities have experienced. Many authors, journalists and community members have spoken eloquently and in ways that will inform and illustrate the situations better than me.
But there is something that brings sadness to me that I want to speak about. While watching the evening news with my mom, we come across two experts, ABC News’ Senior Legal Correspondent Sunny Hostin and attorney Lawrence Otis, discussing minute techniques that parents are incorporating to protect their children.
The technique they were highlighting was clothing. Otis explained he did not allow his children to wear clothing that would make his children look threatening in any way. This meant:
No dark colors.
They were restricted to wear:
Light colored polos.
All of this is in hopes of making his children appear to be well-mannered, which I am sure they are.
I encourage you to watch the full segment here.
This idea depresses me. Clothing to young children is a way of expression, a way of displaying of interests and personality. Take a moment and imagine your favorite clothing item. Is it dark? Does it have logos or band names? Does it have a graphic image that is bright and expressive? All of these things that we take for granted are now targets. Red flags for rogue officers.
I cannot image not having the freedom to wear my favorite hoodie or sweater because I may be perceived as a thug. Unfortunately, the Black community sees and experiences this daily. I cannot imagine the fear each individual must have. I cannot imagine the weariness that rolls over them when a police car comes by. I will never be able to fully understand, but I will sympathize. My heart reaches out to this community that is bleeding. It is crazy that parents must begin to take such absurd precautions to protect their families.
I know that not all cops are bad, and I only address those rogue cops that are not following the ideals of protecting every member of the public.
This is what I ask our generation to think about. We are the generation that can change this. The majority of our generation is now well into voting age. We are the ones that need to participate in this #BlackLivesMatter movement. We must rise beyond mere protest and push our representatives to take action by creating bills and regulations that would begin to change the relationships between cops and civilians.
The election does not end in November when we choose our next president. It continues when we vote for our mayors, representatives, county judges and sheriffs. If we want our agendas to be front and center, we need to educate ourselves and begin to vote for those changes we want to see. We’ve seen our parents and grandparents do this before with the Civil Rights Movement. We can do it too. We need to participate. We need to make sure our voices are heard beyond our Facebook walls, Twitter posts and hashtags.
If you do not do this for yourself, your friends, your family or even just your neighbor, do it for your future children who will have to conform to these frightening “uniforms” because we are afraid. A child should have a childhood. They should not have to fear their civil protectors, and those officers that are rogue need to be held accountable.
In addition, officers should not have to be afraid of being snipped down. Good officers should not be afraid of protecting their civilians. They should not have to bury their fellow cops.
My prayers and condolences go out to the victims of the toxic cop and civilian relationships. My heart goes out to those families that are mourning losses. My heart bleeds blue for those good cops making an effort to do good, and to the families that are just trying to protect and speak out for their community.