DEFUND, DECARCERATE, DISMANTLE MASS INCARCERATION

Gray wisps of smoke emanating from dark concrete. That’s what I remember from the sliver of video of the police killing of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald.

I couldn’t watch the actual shooting—my familiarity with Black death wouldn’t allow it. But I opened my eyes just as those thin wisps began to dissipate in the cool of the night air;  wisps from gunshots—16 of them—emptied into the body of a youth failed by almost all of our societal systems.

He lost his life at the hands of a state-sanctioned actor who couldn’t care less.

Defund The Police.

I get why the phrase elicits such visceral reactions and pearl-clutching in certain corners. “What do you mean, defund?” some people say. “Isn’t reform a better way of phrasing it?” Reform is a perfectly warm, comforting blanket. It is comfortable and sedating.

But it also smothers.

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HONOR FRED HAMPTON: DEFUND CPD

The story of his assassination is harrowing in the shadow of the George Floyd Uprising.

In the predawn hours, a heavily armed Chicago Police Team stormed Hampton’s apartment. The police had obtained a warrant ostensibly in search of illegal weapons, which they used as a pretext for killing Hampton.

They fired more than 90 rounds. He was 21 years old.

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UNMASKING AMERICAN RACISM

I was born in a pandemic, shaped in the waters of strife, separated from my mother’s life-yielding placenta, thrust into a world infected by hate.

I am black and male. Born in the USA. I wear the mask. I cannot leave home without it. This is a matter of survival.

I have learned to wear the mask. Not the one that fits over my nose and mouth snugly and held at my ears. The mask that pretends that I am not who I am. The mask that makes my male blackness less threatening, more palatable.

That projects a veiled image of me.

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