Seeking…Meaningful Steps for Reforming Policing in America
I am a 22-year-old Black male who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2 ½ years. I am a current member of the Oklahoma Sooner Football Team, a Master of Global Affairs with a concentration in Security Candidate (December 2020), and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.
Notwithstanding the accolades, I feel the effects of systemic racism and injustice simply by virtue of being a Black man living in America. Like many of my peers, I have been stopped by the police before. I feared that the encounter might lead to harm, or even worse. This is not a burden that I should have to bear. I should not have to live with the reality that my life is less valuable to many, simply because of the color of my skin.
My father served 22 years in the U.S. Military and pledged the ultimate oath to give up his life to create a safer America, but I oftentimes feel like his sacrifice was not enough. The institutions for which he fought do not represent the basic principle of “Justice for ALL.”
The America he swore to protect has not laid the foundation needed to protect and serve its people of color. For these reasons, I am angry. I am frustrated. But, most of all, I am afraid.
I am afraid that 20 years from now, I will have children who are still dealing with systemic racism, just like I face today. My parents experienced racism; my parent’s parents experienced racism; my grandparents’ parents experienced racism; and the saddest part is that I see no efforts being made to prevent my children from experiencing the same racism.
It is sobering to think that since 2013, over 6,000 Black people have been murdered by those who took an oath to protect and serve them. That is insane.
Take a minute and let that sink in.
Over six thousand have died at the hands of police officers. That fact, in and of itself, clearly reveals that the system is broken; and when something is broken, it must be fixed. Ignoring the problem is no longer an option.
The loved ones of the 6,000 Black people who lost their loved ones deserve an effective solution. The millions of young Black men like myself deserve an effective solution. The millions of men and women who have lost their lives fighting for every American’s freedoms deserve an effective solution. Every American deserves an effective solution.
Eventually, the protesting will come to an end, and when the dust settles what will come from this outcry? Will George Floyd’s death be a distant memory, or will it be the defining moment that leads to effective solutions? The protesting certainly has gotten the public’s attention, but we need more to get the public to work toward solutions.
I have a plethora of ideas, beginning with completely transforming police accountability.
Lifetime Nationwide ban from Policing when terminated for misconduct.
All Civilian Complaints against officers must be subjected to Public Disclosure.
Creation of a National Standard for Recruiting and Use of Force.
Independent Investigation of all allegations of police misconduct.
Clearly, we need significant changes and people willing to work with me to effect that change. I am tired of watching people protesting and not receiving results.
We all know that the time for change is long overdue, and I want to be a part of it. Those 6,000 lives will not have been lost in vain.
A Black man who fears for the safety of his people.