After shattering our homicide record last year, Memphians begin 2021 with more stories of children losing their lives to gun violence.
It leads me to ponder the question, ” How is ” Reimage Policing” working for Memphis?”
Late last year we had two prominent black leaders become victims of violent crimes. One was shot in Frayser; a community where he has dedicated his life to improving the plight of young black males. Another was carjacked at gunpoint in broad daylight not far from where he spent years as a respected professor at the University of Memphis. Ironically, both of these men were members of CLERB ( Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board); a committee that was created to give the community oversight into police misconduct complaints.
There was no march for them. And there shouldn’t be.What good is a Unity Walk against violence and all the participants are non-violent? The citizens participating in the Unity Walk are not the perpetrators of violence. Let’s stop pandering to what looks good and start promoting what is good.
Memphis, we can do better than this and we must get it together. Let’s work together to combat crime instead of fighting each other. With humility we can admit that none of us have all the answers. Even though I know I don’t have all the answers, I know that waging a war against the police is not a viable solution. Maybe we can re-imagine Memphis. I’d like to imagine a city where everyone respects each other regardless of our beliefs; a city where we hold our sons and daughters accountable for their actions; a city where we’re not so quick to point the finger and cast blame. Basically, I imagine a city where we can speak kindly to one other and work together even when we don’t see things the same way. I’d like to imagine a city where we reverence police officers instead of disparaging them.
Every day there was a safer at home order in place, violent crimes still occurred. I’m here to tell you people still get robbed and shot on holidays. I know because I had to work. Crime has no days off. Throughout this pandemic, police officers have continued to apply tourniquets, perform chest compressions, and administer Narcan. It is impossible to social distance while engaging in any of these life-saving actions.
Pandemic or no pandemic, crime will be here. It doesn’t matter the year, there will still be criminals among us. It’s up for us to decide if we are going to fight crime or each other. Are we going to take on the people that choose to commit armed robberies, assaults and carjackings or are we going to fight against the law enforcement officers that risk their lives trying to detain them and keep the rest of us safe? It’s up to us.
It is not lost on me that violence skyrocketed nationwide during a year where we were encouraged to distance ourselves from each other. I am not a medical doctor or a politician, but I believe that hugs are essential.
Once my four year old son got upset with his sister and hit her. I told him, “Son, We do not use our hands to hit, we use them for hugs.”
I received a lot of backlash from one of my previous columns. Although I wholeheartedly stand by what I wrote, I don’t use my words to hurt people’s feelings. Some things are opinions, and some statements are fact. I will not be ruled by biased narratives and feelings. I stand firm in my opinions and my ability to voice them.
Although we have been advised to refrain from physical affection, we can embrace the truth. Last year we had over 300 homicides and NOT ONE of them was at the hands of a police officer. That is a fact and it is the truth.