CRC Students Attend Town Hall meeting on 21st Century Policing

CRC sends a delegation of students and alumni to Congressional Hearing

Michael Davis at Town HallA delegation of the South Los Angeles students and alumni of Manual Arts attended Congress woman's Karen Bass Congressional Hearing on 21st Century Policing. She was joined by Attorney Connie Rice, President Obama's Police Taskforce Lead, and Assembly member Reginald Jones-Sawyer to hear from residents their vision of policing in South LA.

Indeed, there were many debates that were evoked from the comments of all three political representatives, but the impassionate testimony of community members that centralized racial profiling (specifically for Black folks), militarization, and the fear that many community members held in the heart because of their personal experience with policing or what they have witnessed in their neighborhood challenged each political representative to think beyond the paradigm of police, control and contain. The conversation elevated theories of investing in services such as our schools, housing, public transportation not maintaining and expanding the policing forces in the city.

Check out the full speech of Michael Davis, a senior at Manual Arts High School and a Community Rights Campaign member.

"Hi my name is Michael Davis. I am senior at Manual Arts High school and a youth organizer with the community rights campaign. Thank you for creating a space for us to talk about what policing looks like in our community. As a young person that was raised in South LA, I understand what it means to live in a state that has prioritized the policing and suppression of my community as oppose to investing in the restoration of my community. See I work with the community rights campaign because I am clear that we have the largest sheriff's department, the 3rd largest police department and the nation's largest school police department within a country that is leading in incarceration with over 2.3 million people in prison. I knew I had to join a movement to end mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. But today, in the midst of young black and brown people being killed by police and communities like Ferguson who were greeted with army tanks and tear gas when they took to the streets with grief and demanded respect, accountability and power...we are faced with a challenge: How can California be a leader in ending state violence? I think we need three commitments from the state to make this a reality--reduce police and invest in services, end broken windows, and end our relationship with the 1033 program

Can we commit to reduce police and invest that money into services for the community? We have an opportunity with the local control accountability plan to make this a reality. However, LAUSD plans to use LCAP funds to invest $13 million for school police who already have a $60 million budget and we had to fight for the $4 million dollars that is going towards Restorative Justice. These numbers just proves that our city and district has an addiction to policing and suppression and we need to flip the script and reinvest those police funds in teachers, nurses and counselors. Also, I know there are many calls from organizations and groups to have a civilian review board and body cameras, but we have had a camera in the death of Trayvon, Eric garner and countless other black people killed by police. Of course we want to maximize all protection for our community and an elected civilian review board with prosecutorial power is a way of getting there. But the question remains-- are we brave enough to say that there have been too many deaths and these lives matter SO Reduce police not watch police because true protection is less police.

Can we commit to ending pre-emptive policing and broken windows policies in Los Angeles? I have organized with the community rights campaign to end truancy tickets, pass the equal protection plan that took school discipline like disturbing the peace, vandalism and possession from citable and arrestable offenses to being addressed in schools; but can we be brave enough to push beyond restricting the role of police and get these policies off the books because their stop and frisk and criminalization of poverty and everyday life culture is nothing far from our modern day black codes.

Can we commit to ending the Militarization of our communities by breaking California's relationship with the Federal Defense 1033 program? In LA, our school police department received a tank, grenade launchers and riffles some of which have been returned due to the pressure of the community rights campaign. But we must not forget that these were the same weapons that were given to the Sheriffs and LAPD. To be honest, when these weapons were given to these departments, it made me question if the state is preparing to go to war with the community and youth. We need the school district and city to destroy all their military weapons and conduct an inventory of all the weapons in their possession to have a true community debate. Let's not wage a war on the community and youth, let's get to the root cause of issues. "