- On February 15, 2021
Am I Next?
Youth are the future of our communities, therefore we are committed to giving them the opportunities they need to grow and become the leaders of tomorrow. Our Youth Development Program gives them the necessary support and tools to initiate a change and speak their minds in a proactive way. This series of editorial pieces featured in the next couple of weeks, are the result of months of work from these young adult independent minds ready to take action and eager to be heard.
*The views and opinions expressed in the following piece are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of IBA.
By Jonathan N., Elijah C.
Police brutality is common in our Boston communities and is being exposed through all social media networks. People of color, everywhere, are at risk every day because we never know if we are next!
Nobody is safe from police brutality regardless if you're a good or bad person. We see it today with victims like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who deserve more than protest, they deserve justice. In our own country African Americans are scared to be near our “protectors” because we haven’t seen them actually protect us. Our interactions are filled with fear and anxiety due to generations of abuse; we should be judged by our acts not our skin.
According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, it’s evident that race is a factor in the number of police killings. As we have seen this year, violence and brutality will not be tolerated by minority groups anymore! Black Lives Matter is a movement that has responded to the non-stop violence we have seen all of 2020. In Boston according to wgbh.org, 70 percent of police stops were with black people. Statistics like this don't just happen, this is intentional. As a black person living in Boston, facts like these are heartbreaking and really hard to live with.
At any moment we may be walking down the street, and just looking “wrong” gives the police the choice to “stop-and-frisk” us. A quote from the website says that “What was really troubling is how hard it was to get this data...”. This makes us think how much of our community is miscounted for or just straight up neglected. It was harder to find out about police brutality in Boston than in the United States in general. Our state is not doing enough to protect and make black lives and minorities in general easier. There are some good things coming from such a bad situation like police brutality though. More people are coming together as a whole to combat and protest against police brutality. Other than the Black Lives Matter movement there is the Mass Action Against Police Brutality organization which is bringing accessible information about the victims of police brutality.
As a community, we need to push for police reform. We believe in police reform and this does not mean taking away from our police. We see it as providing more help and more accountability structures. Police are always forgiven for anything, this double standard cannot stay here. Police have a duty to protect the citizens, but what good is that when they are treated as if they are above the law?
On December 31, 2020 Governor Baker signed into law, “A police accountability bill" that creates a civilian-led commission with the power to certify officers, investigate claims of misconduct and revoke the certification of officers for certain violations. Reforming our police department in our communities is step one in mending bonds that were severed. Massachusetts is off to a great start for 2021!
If you want to join our program visit bit.ly/joinydpsummer and apply by April 16, 2021
For more information contact our Youth Program Director Pedro Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617.399.195