The America I believe in, and have known for most of my life, is founded on the essential principal that all men and women were born free and equal, and should be treated with respect and dignity. The constitution gives us the right to peacefully assemble and the freedom of speech: items embedded in our constitution. I understand that this is probably white privilege at its best: some 40 year old white guy making 6 figures a year talking about peace and equality.
I've had the pleasure/misfortune to work along side many agencies – including law enforcement – In my tenure on this planet, and I've worked and spent time with amazing cops who are empathetic, thorough, and I've worked with cops that make my skin crawl; the ones who would openly discuss stealing drugs from the drug locker and reselling them in order to boost their income, ones who had no problem making sure a suspect missed a few stairs on his way down to the patrol car, and ones who used "In Memoriam" decals as probable cause to pull people over.
I did a Paramedic refresher course with Breonna Taylor a year or so ago. At the time, she was just another face in a pool of overworked EMT's and Paramedics, trying to figure out how and why in the hell someone like me is in their class. The other names: Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd get added to a long list of names taken by this government or by individuals far too soon in this life.
I wish I knew the answers. I wish I could comfort those who seek comfort from me with the confidence that I knew what the hell is going on. Most of all, I wish we had a way to get this idiot and his sychopants out of office yesterday and restore faith and humanity in this world: This is an awful person, waving around a bible he hasn't read, standing in front of churches he doesn't attend, invoking laws he doesn't understand – against fellow Americans he sees as enemies – wielding a military he dodged serving, to protect power he gained via accepting foreign interference, exploiting fear and anger that he loves to stoke, after failing to address a pandemic he was warned about, and building it all on a bed of constant lies and childish inanity.
I've donated $10,000 to the Brooklyn Bail Fund, the Florida LGBTQ Freedom Fund, and the Beloved Community Church Bail Fund. I lived in NYC for a few years in the mid 2000's, I spent a large majority of the last 6 years in Cincinnati, and, most recently, I call Miami home. I've made sure that the friends who I know who have been arrested have had proper counsel for their initial appearances, and I've gone out of my way to help the ACLU and other monitoring groups ensure that what ever egregious acts of the police are recorded accordingly so that once meaningful community oversight is in place, we can remove the bad actors and retrain our police force to be more humane, just, and empathetic with all of their encounters. If there's one thing that Cincinnati's Consent Decree has shown me, it's that most police don't admit that they have a bias until you show them the cold, hard truth. Most police fear oversight by those outside the department because of the consequences: it's a black mark that could end your career growth and hinder your ability to get future jobs in law enforcement: but very few cities have citizen oversight boards, and only a select few of those have the teeth it needs to ensure that systematic racism and abuse stop.
This isn't the America that I dreamed I'd be in when I was growing up.
This is a nightmare, and we really need to wake up.