Far too often, someone begins their day as a father, a mother, a sister, a brother, a child, only to become, by day’s end, a hashtag, a name emblazoned across headlines and timelines.
Why? Because yet another Black person has met their demise at the hands of the police.
The locations vary, crossing the South and the North, the East and West Coasts: Baltimore, Oakland, Chicago, Staten Island, Charlotte, Ferguson. The face of these killings is often male, but we lose women and little girls, too. The deceased is often unarmed, posing the question: just who or what represents a threat to the officer, to the community-at-large? Unfortunately, the answer is often left to those who can snuff out a life at the drop of a hat, and do so under the protection of the law.
Local police departments, tasked with investigating themselves in these cases often find no evidence of wrongdoing. Swelling national outrage over police-involved killings has led to a number of federal investigations and condemnation from senior government leaders. However, the lack of national guidelines for policing empowers local departments and police unions to conduct business as usual without major consequences.
A Black person is killed by law enforcement. People protest. The officer or officers involved are not found criminally liable for the death. And then, it happens again. And again. And again. No less than 176 times this year alone, and counting.
The Radio One, Inc. family of companies (TV One, Interactive One, Reach Media and One Solution) are here to say Black lives matter and we create media each day to affirm, celebrate, and reflect the multifaceted ways in which they do. However, as we routinely cover police killings via our radio, television, and digital platforms, we feel it is imperative our consumers understand we stand firmly in opposition to the practices and policies that have allowed these tragic deaths to happen — and continue to happen, over and over again.
How do we challenge a system of bad policing that crosses state lines and often escapes federal accountability? How do we push for a change in how police officers view Black people — as citizens to protect and serve — and demand consequences for those who treat us otherwise?
What are the solutions? We don’t have all the answers, but we will continue to search for them, right along with you. Earlier this year, our companies, the companies of Radio One, Inc. worked with Edison Research to conduct a survey about police violence and the state of race relations (you can read the results here).
Stay tuned to NewsOne.com for more information on the latest headlines and ways you can get involved in the fight for justice. Check out the following organizations/resources for more information:
Color of Change: The nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
Sankofa: The social justice group founded by Harry Belafonte to bring artists and grassroots organizers together for social change.
The Movement for Black Lives: A comprehensive policy platform endorsed by over 50 social justice organizations.
NAACP: The nation’s oldest and largest grassroots-based civil rights organization.
Black Lives Matter: A chapter based national organization devoted to racial justice.
Mapping Police Violence: Carefully sourced info on police killings across the United States.
The National Urban League: A historic civil rights organization with a focus on economic empowerment in urban communities.
BYP 100: A member-based organization of young activists committed to creating freedom and justice for Black people.
The Advancement Project: A next generation civil-rights organization with a focus on mass incarceration.
National Action Network: The Reverend Al. Sharpton’s national civil rights organization.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: The premier American legal organization fighting for racial justice
We encourage those of you who haven’t to register to vote. Closely follow both local and national elections: understand who are the elected judges, prosecutors, and officials in your area who make decisions about policing, and keep them accountable.
We will continue to use our measurable reach to take the pulse of Black Americans, and others, about these issues. We will also continue to tap our leading activists, scholars, and thinkers to help us find ways to make things better and drive meaningful conversations that can lead to measurable change.
No more hashtags, no more names, no more senseless deaths. Not. One. More.