Written by: Sarah Chase
Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery lost his life. A few months later, George Floyd was murdered on May 25. This and every other murder of an unarmed black citizen, sparked protests worldwide. Yet, many people think that justice has been served, but Breonna Taylor’s murderers are still free. People treated Black Lives Matter as a trend for post on their Instagram, but police brutality still lives on and many black families not only have to fear for their safety, but the safety of their children, their brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandparents, parents, grandchildren and so on. That is why the Black Lives Matter movement is still not over and why we still need to fight for reform within the police.
Defunding the police has become an initiative taken by many citizens. Instead of funding going into police, citizens want to direct funding towards communities, especially those that are highly or over-policed, schools, places that actually need the funding. Let’s examine on a local level of where I live:
I am home to Alabama. I have been in Alabama all of my life and the history of discrimination and racism is not forgotten here. That discrimination and racism is still very much alive with blue lives matter flags placed outside homes and a billboard on University with a blue lives matter flag background with a drawing of a soldier and a saying that reads “We salute you.” Not only does that scream Black lives do not matter, but it also shows how much the funding will not be redirected into marginalized neighborhoods, schools, building community centers for our poorest neighborhoods, etc. If Alabama took that same support and funding out of police departments and put it into transforming poor and gang neighborhoods and overall use the money to help advance these neighborhoods and the people inside of them, we would see a decrease in violence and crime therefore a decrease in police in these neighborhoods, which would then decrease the police brutality used on American citizens.
The population of these neighborhoods who join gangs, sell drugs or participate in any crime simply do not have the money to help their situation and are a part of a long line of family members who joined gangs as a last resort. The majority of people in these neighborhoods are Black and if you look back on why then you’ll see why the funding needs to go to these neighborhoods.
To make a long story short. Black people move into these white neighborhoods and white people begin to move out of those neighborhoods because no white person wanted to be neighbors with any African American back then, so with white people moving out of these neighborhoods, we then have created a majority black area and America is not going to put funding into these black neighborhoods and based on our history you should get a hint as to why. Now you have businesses, housing, schools, all mainly black that are not getting the proper funding, so you have an area that needs to survive therefore needs to commit crime to do so. You have people stealing, robbing, selling drugs, etc. trying to make ends meet. Crime goes up in that area, police are receiving money to handle that crime and more, so now you have put a bunch of white cops in a black neighborhood to “handle” it instead of using that funding to fund these people that did not get it simply because they are black or a person of color. This discrimination is exactly why these neighborhoods need the funding.
If we worked to build up these neighborhoods, instead of building up a force that already has the necessities it needs, then we could possibly lower the crime rate in these neighborhoods. Schools would get funded to help students accomplish their school career, community centers can be built to help students with tutoring, educate them on how to get jobs, build public transportation to get parents without cars where they have to be. Create jobs, so that those in gangs, selling drugs, etc., can earn money the correct way.
If you build up these neighborhoods that are over-policed, two problems have started to be solved. Police can move out of these neighborhoods and the brutality of innocent people in these neighborhoods will lessen or possibly end. Black people who have not been blessed with opportunity can finally be granted some and will not have to begin a career in crime to get by.
I am not saying black people are gang members and drug dealers, because that is not black people. That is what a PERSON has to become because America did not give them the funding, protection or help that they gave other neighborhoods. These neighborhoods began because of racism and because of racism these neighborhoods stopped getting the attention it needed to thrive. America knew what it was doing when it defunded these black neighborhoods and put it towards the police.
Cover photo from:https://www.wired.co.uk/article/defund-the-police