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"Stop Killing Us" 3 Things to Do With Your Grief and Rage

Police dressed in riot gear accost peaceful protester in sundress. Baton Rouge. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters.

To be candid, this past week I’ve struggled to write Field Notes. As you know, at Progressive Pupil we strive to remain optimistic. A steadfast faith in the power of collective action and community-based leadership, rooted in the successes of social movements in the past, drives our work. Hearing the news of the killing of Philando Castile in Minneapolis, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Delrawn Small in New York, as well as witnessing the grief of their children, tested that faith.

I lost my mother and grandfather (who was a surrogate father to me) a few years ago and understand the pain of losing a parent as an adult. I can only begin to imagine the despair losing a parent causes a child. Seeing Alton Sterling’s 15 year-old burst into tears, nearly collapsing from grief, while his mother expressed outrage about his father’s death overwhelmed me with sadness and frustration. At a press conference, they stood in front of a sign that read “Stop Killing Us.”

7 thoughts on “"Stop Killing Us" 3 Things to Do With Your Grief and Rage

  1. This post resonates with me because I am appalled by police brutality. The issues of police brutality is highlighted through the policies that society has created to interact with Black and Latino communities. In most cases, the police escalate the situation and use extreme deadly force as a means to solve the situation. Black and Latino communities are seen as the “other” and the police is dominant. Collective action and social movements are excellent responses to police brutality. These movements illustrate the contrast between being aggressive and being peaceful. In order to combat police brutality, police forces need to be retrained and updated on the issues that is currently taking place in minority neighborhoods. When the police force is educated about how to diffuse situations and held accountable for their actions, police officers would think before immediately reacting with deadly force. Thus, creating peaceful police relations in communities.

  2. I really appreciate the advice and suggestions for how to make a difference in this post. Particularly with suggestion #2, since the source of a lot of these hostilities is with the police department. I think there has to be an emphasis on de-escalation tactics for the police. I am a teacher by profession, and I worked in a high school that served one of the poorest, most marginalized communities in all of New York City. The first tactic that teachers were taught with students was de-escalation–if a student is hurt or angry, the teacher is not supposed to escalate the fight. You give the student a few minutes to vent, and then hopefully they can come back to the classroom. Police need to learn the importance of de-escalation tactics, and that not every situation has to result in a black man or teenager being shot. They need some advanced training, and they need to reduce the amount of force that is being used in black communities. Too many young men are being shot and killed for absolutely nothing. It is disgraceful on the part of the NYPD.

  3. A very powerful image for sure. However, I do find something wrong with this picture and it is not what you would expect. They essentially made the police here the villain when they were trying to peacefully remove her. She didn’t comply. Of course she would get arrested. What I found a bit offensive about this picture is the idea that some people are associating police with someone to be feared. That’s just not true. Not all police have racist and hateful tendencies. I think what I found just a tad bit annoying was the woman talking about she’s the “vessel for peace…” It felt disingenuous –either that or she’s very much high in the clouds. Many people found it to be equivalent to the man standing in front of the tanks. It’s not the same thing. At least I don’t see it as the same thing. For me, it really felt fake.

  4. This article was well written and highlights key points on Police brutality pertaining to the black community . To add on to the list of things that can be done to help with the grief and rage , there should be a ban on racist policing , But at the very least, cities, counties and states should provide avenues through which private citizens can take the police to court when they believe they’ve been profiled . Involving the community in making big decisions , every city should have an adequately funded community oversight board with significant investigatory and disciplinary powers and communities should have a say on how they are policed.

  5. Like many others have pointed out, I also agree that this is a powerful image. I agree with Laura that this image somewhat villainizes the police, like a lot of the media has been portraying. While I agree, the system is problematic, and it could also depend on the individual police, it is unfair to group the police force as a whole. I appreciated how the article provided suggestions on how we can initiate change, instead of simply pointing the finger at someone or point out the problem. Initially, I was skeptical about whether the suggestions would make a difference, but it made me think back to when you mentioned how Mandela was never logical or realistic either, I felt more optimistic…he started somewhere and he kept pushing for it. I hope that we can also work together to create change in regards to the issues dealing with police force.

  6. With all the tragedy and injustice in the world, it is important to do everything in your power to remain optimistic. Even though we are not there yet, we need to remain optimistic. The bad news is that these things still are occurring. However, there is increasing publicity surrounding these incidents, and increasing outrage that they still are occurring. Change can never come fast enough, but hopefully we are seeing signs that change is coming. Although it is easier said than done, I think the three steps that are laid out in the article give people something to focus their attention on and a framework that can help them to keep working toward change.

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