Those who focus on police reform are asking the wrong questions: Amanda Alexander

Agree, police reform is only part of the solutions and approaches:

….Reformers are asking the wrong questions. They have turned to increased police training and altered use-of-force protocols to end this nightmare. Fortunately, some among us demand another way. Young black activists are not just asking, “How do we make cops stop shooting us?” but instead, “What do our communities need to thrive? How do we get free?” They’re not begging for scraps; they’re demanding the world they deserve. If there’s a future for any of us, it’s in asking these questions, demanding fundamental shifts in resources and organizing like hell.

So far reform has brought little outside of multimillion-dollar investments in police departments for body cameras. It remains to be seen whether they will be effective in reducing brutality and deaths. But one thing is clear: We’ve decided that doubling down on investment in the police, rather than the communities they patrol, is the best solution to ending the slaughter of black people.

Ultimately, the real beneficiaries of these reforms are not the residents of Oakland, Chicago and Ferguson, Mo., but San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Meanwhile, cash-strapped cities continue to raise revenue from policing and fining the poor. And because of insufficient social service investment, Americans rely on police to be first responders to crises of mental health, addiction and homelessness. The results are tragic: Half of those killed by police have a disability.

It’s no wonder that mainstream discussions of police reform seem to miss the mark. Yet black movement activists remain bold. Organizers with Black Youth Project (BYP 100) and the Movement for Black Lives held more than 80 actions last week under the banner of #FreedomNow. BYP 100 renewed its demand to “fund black futures,” calling on Americans to divest from the police state and invest in communities to promote economic sustainability.

This call to fund black futures is not a call for reform. Instead, it understands the futility of our current path. It’s ultimately a call to a future where policing will never take us.

And they’re organizing to make it so. In Chicago, Fearless Leading by the Youth demanded – and won – a state-of-the-art trauma centre to serve their community. In Cleveland and Chicago, organizers removed prosecutors who failed to act on police shootings. Advocates are testing alternatives to police –gun-free zones, 911 alternatives, restorative justice – and also fighting for health care and education.

These young people are fighting to do more than breathe, more than reform. From grief and pain, they’re offering a dream of something more.

Source: Those who focus on police reform are asking the wrong questions – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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