police brutality

Neighborhood FORWARD’s Statement on Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

We’ve known there are two Americas for some time now.

All summer, we watched as the country marched against police brutality, trying to get the point across that Black Lives Matter. In response, law enforcement rolled through our cities in tanks, sporting weapons of war trained on the very people they swore to protect. When Black America protested, our institutions responded violently and rapidly.

Last week, the rage of those who have felt left behind by progress was on full display. Emboldened by a refusal of their “leader” to condemn white supremacy, whether in Charlottesville or during the Presidential debates, domestic terrorists sought to interfere with a free election and murder high government officials. Bearing nooses and the flag of traitors, they attacked our country.

We’ve known the deck was stacked against people of color for decades. We didn’t, however, know how willing some in government would be to invite this plague into our house.

Between law enforcement spurring terrorists past the barricades and defiant Republican politicians applauding their presence, this was not a display of white privilege, this was a display of white power. It’s a power that is reinforced by our institutions and evident throughout our history. For the last four years, that power has been wielded and weaponized by a significant group of our elected officials.

We deserve better.

Neighborhood FORWARD denounces these actions in the strongest possible terms. The fact that domestic terrorists, encouraged by vicious lies from their authority figures, were allowed to take the house of the people is unacceptable. The fact that they took pictures bragging about their insurrection is unacceptable. The fact that they were encouraged to do this is unacceptable.

No, we don’t want to hear that our leaders are standing in solidarity with us. No, we don’t want to see them kneel while wearing kente cloth. No, we don’t want to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” with a group seeking the erasure of our neighborhoods and safety.

We want real change, right now. Bold, common-sense reforms are needed to rectify the issues facing us. Providing affordable housing to combat historic redlining can help marginalized groups generate wealth. Prioritizing rehabilitation instead of punishment can end the cycle of recidivism. Making elections simpler for all can erase the legacy of decades of voter suppression.

These reforms can help solve the greatest issues of our time.

The rise of far-right extremism is but one of the many challenges facing our country. It permeates our institutions, communities, and relationships. To combat it, we need structural changes that reinforce the rights of people of color and move our communities forward.

Neighborhood FORWARD calls on every federal elected official to condemn last week’s insurrection. We dually call on Congress and the Biden administration to prioritize efforts to reform, reinvest, and reimagine communities of color across the country.

Moving forward is only possible by looking backwards. As such, let us never forget the events of January 6. May they inspire us to forego empty rhetoric and pursue genuine change.

Black-on-Black Crime: A Racist Myth

With an uptick in protests and the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, some continue to ask the question, “What about Black-on-Black crime? Why is that not being protested instead?”

The idea that “Black-on-Black crime” is not being addressed is a myth. Furthermore, the idea that Black communities kill each other more than any other racial group is false. The Black-on-Black crime myth is another tool used to push the agenda of white supremacism on the American people. 

For years, the Black community has fought to end violence at the hands of law enforcement, but also in our own neighborhoods. The Black community does this through many methods, including movies, songs, community protests, and mediations between neighborhoods.

Using the phrase Black-on-Black crime reduces Black people to criminals, making it seem that they are more likely than a white person to commit a crime. On the other side of things, white people are mainly killed by white people. Have you ever heard the phrase “white-on-white crime?”

People are also more likely to commit a crime based on their level of poverty than their race. Because of systemic racism in America, poverty is twice as high among Black Americans than white Americans. This predisposition puts Black Americans in neighborhoods where crime is higher, which many people do not account for when looking at crime rates.

The phrase Black-on-Black crime also prevents us from focusing on what’s important to Black Americans right now — police brutality. A Black American is two and a half times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than a white person. This is horrendous and needs to be put to a stop. How many more Tamir Rices? Philando Castiles? Breonna Taylors? Why don’t their lives matter?

It’s time to push back on the myth of Black-on-Black crime. It is nothing more than a racist dog whistle spread in order to cover up police brutality and push the white supremacist agenda.

Rather than more policing and more prisons, it is imperative that we focus on the root causes of the disproportionate crime rates towards Black people. As Angela Davis once said, the prison system simply “relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism.” The way we address so-called “Black-on-Black crime” is by dismantling the racist systems that subject Black Americans to violence.

Neighborhood FORWARD believes it is beyond time to make real and lasting change to our policing systems and address the factors that put Black Americans in harm’s way. Are you with us?

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