Black lives matter. That does not mean that other lives do not matter, it means that Black lives are often treated as if they do not matter. When unarmed Black people are killed by police officers, instead of the victim and their family being shown sympathy and a demand for justice being made, many of our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, and our fellow Americans begin a smear campaign on the victim. An attempt is made to justify what amounts to a death sentence, by finding some behavior of the victim that justified the police officers actions. But Thereasa knows that the penalty for carrying a pocket knife, selling cigarettes, carrying a licensed firearm, stealing a box of cigars, walking away from police, and resisting arrest ISN'T death. Thereasa believes that special prosecutors should be appointed whenever a serious case of police misconduct is reported. This is not because a prosecutor is unable to be unbias, it is because the families of victim's deserve justice.
Police officers are not villains, they have volunteered to protect and serve our communities, but the blue wall of silence is a villain. It threatens every person in our nation, particularly people of color. It is no different than the mantra "Snitches get stitches" that police officers condemn and leads to crimes going unpunished and mistrust in the community. When members of the community don't report, they are failing to act in order to protect their lives. When police officers don't report, they are failing to act in order to protect their friends, at that the expense of hurting the community that they have sworn to protect. Silence is compliance.
Thereasa believes that a federal electronic reporting system needs to be created that allows police officers to report fellow officer’s or their department’s illegal or discriminatory behaviors. The system would have the option to allow anonymous reporting so as to eliminate the intimidation of retribution. Thereasa would also fight for an electronic system that would allow citizens to report police misconduct online that would simultaneously file a report with the federal government and the police station and create a tracker that would show when and how the report was addressed. These systems will allow us to properly track instances of police misconduct and ensure that a safe and fair system exists.
Gentrification has forced groups of people that were once spread out to move into more concentrated areas, which has led to more tension and violence. The answer is not more aggressive police tactics or an increase in prison and jail sentences. The answer is more after school programs to keep our kids off the street, an increased minimum wage so that parents can be home with their children instead of working two or three jobs to make ends meet, and all parents teaching their children the values that were instilled into us, the values of respect to others and self-respect. Make no mistake, their are many problems outside of our community that hurt us: we are still paid less for the same work, we are still passed over for jobs that are then given to less qualified non-minorities, we are still overpoliced, and our families are still being forcefully broken apart, as they have for centuries, only now it's through the prison system. But we need to make changes to the things within our community that we have control over and stop waiting for others to tell us that we matter. If we're afraid to walk around in some of our neighborhoods, how can we expect the police not to be? Black lives matter. They need to matter to everyone, but they also need to matter to us.