Black Lives Matter. Period.
Our country has systematically and institutionally disenfranchised Black and indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) for hundred of years, building untold wealth at their expense. The 2020 social justice movement is the latest and hopefully the final wake-up call that we need to fundamentally restructure how economic and government systems work to ensure more not just a “fair chance” to BIPOC individuals, but to make up for past wrongs.
My current understanding is a work in progress, but I can clearly see a cycle poverty, neglect, disenfranchisement, trauma, hopelessness, crime, imprisonment, poverty… This cycle of oppression generates hardships, violence, heartbreak, drug abuse, hurting neighborhoods and the District as a whole. This cycle will not end with increased policing. In fact, increasing policing accelerates the cycle, sending more residents to prison, breaking up families, and increasing financial hardships. Ending this cycle requires interventions at every stage.
That said, the call to Defund MPD must be inspected very cautiously. It’s really unfortunate that the demand requires so much clarification as to what is actually called for. I would like to see data on what percentage of Shaw citizens feel threatened by police presence vs reassured and safer.
I think the District must fund a variety of programs that undermine the cycle of oppression at every stage. These programs will reduce the need for MPD at its current size and funding levels. We could Defund MPD, or we could make them obsolete. I think the call to Defund is as triggering to some District residents as MPD is to others. This is a great opportunity to find a solution where everyone wins.