Community Alternatives to Police

 

This past Saturday, December 3rd, BLM Sacramento hosted the beginning of many community forums discussing alternatives to police. Over 125 people packed a meeting room in a neighborhood library to dive deep into conversation. All experiences, voices, opinions and values were welcomed and heard. The conversation went as deep as envisioning a community without police. What would that look like? What do we need from one another? How is this even possible? Yes, that’s right 125 people showed up to dream big.

 

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The police tend to be called for a variety of reasons that usually have something to do with “crimes” around property, morality and safety. We heard many stories from folks who have called law enforcement for a variety of reasons. There was a common theme: story after story, the response from law enforcement did not help or prevent the situations. In fact, it typically made situations worse for all people involved. So why do we need them? What can we do instead? This is where we are in the conversation.

 

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BLM Sacramento Chapter Lead, Donielle Prince, facilitated the evening conversation and left us with the following Transformative Justice Principles to think about:

 

  1. Transformative Justice stresses that notion that the current criminal justice system in the U.S. separates the victim and the offender, which re-victimizes the victim and changes the offender into a victim of the state.

  2. Transformative Justice is based on prison abolition.

  3. Transformative Justice brings issues of identity back into the realm of justice by addressing socio-political injustices toward women, people of color, gays, lesbians, trans and queer, poor, immigrants, people with disabilities, and other oppressed and marginalized groups.

  4. Transformative Justice believes that “crime” is framed by the state and not by the community.

  5. Transformative Justice believes in de-institutionalization (empowering people, rather than institutions, to make decisions).

  6. Transformative Justice is against violence and punishment.

  7. Transformative Justice believes in the value of mediation, negotiation, and community to transform conflicts.

  8. Transformative Justice values conflict as an opportunity for growth, progress, and social justice.

  9. Transformative Justice identifies crime as conflict.  Consequently, social structures and the government are identified as potential offenders.

  10. Transformative Justice is for total liberation and the end of all systems of domination.

 

What was evident last night was the power of our community. We are yearning for something different than the system(s) currently in place. We are yearning to be connected to one another, to our neighbors, to our problems and to the resolutions. We have the passion and desire to care for one another. As one of the attendees, Les Simmons put it, we have to be willing to put in the “sweat equity.” We have to be willing to do the work, to rely on and uplift one another, and hold each other accountable when bad shit goes down. We have the tools and resources within ourselves and our community to do this.

BLM Sacramento looks forward to continuing this conversation in our community. Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 7th, from 6-8pm at the Colonial Heights Library (FB event link below for more details).

 

Upcoming Black Lives Matter Sacramento events: (click on link for details)

January 7: City of Sacramento, You're on Notice! 

January 7: Community Alternatives to Police

January 21: Black Lives Matter Sacramento Open Meeting

 

 

 


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