Youth Sound Off: Racism and Police Brutality
Between COVID-19 and the widely publicized incidents of police brutality in the U.S., the summer of 2020 was highly charged. We reached out to young people with systems experience across the country to see what they were thinking about and what their experiences had been when it comes to racism and policing in America. These are their stories.
Our Whole System Must Change
I took interest in social justice after being exposed to protesting. I was only 15 years old in 2016 when Philando Castile was murdered by the police during a routine traffic stop in my city.
When the Thin Blue Line Breaks: Racial Divide in America
From a young age, we are taught that the men in blue are our friends, protectors and allies. We put our faith and trust into the familiar uniforms that are responsible for our collective and individual safety and find solace in knowing that they will be there when we need them.
Abolishing the Police Is Not the Answer
This year, 2020, has been hard for everyone; between coronavirus and fighting for equality, the world hasn’t had a moment to stop and breathe. Without a doubt, this year has been full of tragedy and sorrow as the number of lives lost continues to grow.
I Have Never Known Life Without Police Brutality
One of the most impactful experiences with police brutality for me is intertwined in generational trauma. My mother, who suffers from bipolar and schizophrenia, was in her late teens or early twenties and having a manic episode.
My Human Rights Were Stripped
Racism, sexism and police brutality have been a constant in my life. I remember from a very young age the cops would harass me, constantly trying to find any reason to make an arrest.
Racism is a Familiar Fear
Racism and inequality have plagued this nation for hundreds of years. Racism here in the South is a familiar fear. Racism and discrimination exist in the education system, in the health care system when Black mothers don’t receive proper care, sports when our Black bodies are looked at as only tokens to win games, in shopping centers when my darker-skinned brothers are followed from entry to exit, in the prison system when mass incarceration and false charges usually apply to African-Americans, rather than Caucasians, in employment when my name could determine whether I get called for the interview or not.
Real Power is Within Us
“I can’t breathe” are the words uttered by George Floyd, Eric Garner and many other individuals whose lives who have been taken, stolen, by those charged with the duty to “protect and serve.”
In My Community, You Don’t Call the Cops
Although I now live in Harlem, I grew up in Ridgewood, New York, a small, immigrant neighborhood where the adults often left the children to fend for themselves as they ventured into the city for work.
I have always dealt with racial inequality and police harassment. When I was 15 I used to have blue hair, and my foster sister had red hair. One day the police rolled up on us and told us – didn’t even say hi, just told us – what gangs we were from.