Ongoing protests, demands for action, only routes to meaningful change

People protest nationwide against police brutality.

People protest nationwide against police brutality.

On Saturday, December 13, various civil rights groups will gather in Washington, D.C, to demand a national response to the spate of murders unleashed on unarmed Black men and boys by White police officers, and the refusal of largely White grand juries, impaneled by White district attorneys, to indict the officers. Some supporters will march to protest against vigilante members of the public who also kill Black and Latino residents  without provocation. While still others will march to highlight members of the Black and Latino communities killing each other in a show of disregard for their lives.

Protesters in New York City march and demand change.

Protesters in New York City march and demand change.

As people of all races and backgrounds continue to take to the street en masse, blocking streets, highways, malls, businesses and municipal buildings, politicians have begun to take notice. Also, supporters in countries as far-flung as India, France and England have held solidarity protests, holding aloft banners with the timeless message: “Black Lives Matter.” There must be no tiring in the quest to elicit meaningful change in how Black and Latino people are routinely targeted and dehumanized by police officers who are sworn to protect them. The dichotomy in police relationships between the White community and Black/Latino communities require a national overall in policing strategies.

Protesters marched in 1936 for the same issue as they are marching today.

Protesters marched in 1936 for the same issue as they are marching today.

President Barack Obama’s recent request to Congress for $75 million to fund body cameras for police officers, while noble, hardly inspires comfort, given the fact that the unholy alliance between district attorneys and police officers rendered two videotapes of Eric Garner’s chokehold murder by Staten Island detective Daniel Pantaleo unpersuasive to a predominantly White grand jury. However, it is a step in the right direction. New York Mayor Bill deBlasio’s joint announcement with his police commissioner Bill Bratton that all 35, 000 New York City police force will immediately undergo re-training is also a good step, despite the cries of hysteria espoused by Petrolmen Benevolent Association( PBA) President Patrick Lynch.

“Re-training the police force on new ways of dealing with the public and better use of force will reduce these tragedies,” deBlasio said over the weekend.

Protesters stage die-in at Grand Central Station in New York City to express outrage that the grand jury failed to indict the officers who used an illegal chokehold to murder Eric Garner.

Protesters stage die-in at Grand Central Station in New York City to express outrage that the grand jury failed to indict the officers who used an illegal chokehold to murder Eric Garner.

But those steps are just the beginning of what will be a long journey towards the type of systemic change that is necessary for Blacks and Latinos to feel safe in their homeland of America, the land of the free. It is unacceptable for Blacks and Latinos to be victimized, harassed, assaulted and murdered with impunity by police officers who run the streets like lawless gangs who answer to no one. This must stop. The anguish that is felt by the families of Garner, Amadou Diallo, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, Oscar Grant, Sean Belll, Anthony Baez, Abmer Louima, Patrick Dorismond, Jordan Davis and countless others across the country needs to be assuaged.

Black and Latino children grow up fearing the police who are sworn to protect them.

Black and Latino children grow up fearing the police who are sworn to protect them.

The trauma experienced by members of the Black and Latino communities when an innocent life is cut down by police officers whose primary responsibility is to protect but whose presence engenders fear, last a lifetime.  Police brutality targeted towards Black and Latino communities need to stop and the protests, marches and acts of civil disobedience are vital actions that must be taken to keep the issues in the public consciousness.–OnPointPress.net.

NYC’s mayoral picks reflect diversity in top posts

Former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter on Sunday when he was named as the city's new corporation counsel.

Former U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter on Sunday when he was named as the City’s new Corporation Counsel.

By Carmen Glover

When Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is sworn in officially as New York City’s mayor tonight at midnight and again at noon on New Year’s Day, he will do so while having some semblance of a diverse team in place, based on his most recent appointments. African-American former U.S. Attorney for Brooklyn Zachary Carter, 63, has been named as the latest corporation counsel and Latina Carmen Farina has left retirement at age 70 to serve as the schools chancellor, joining another Latina, Gladys Carrion, 62, the new ACS commissioner.  Bill Bratton, 66, has returned for a second go-around as police commissioner and joins first deputy mayor Anthony Shorris, 56, whose appointment was announced by de Blasio a few weeks ago.

Former educator Carmen Farina left retirement to accept the post of Schools Chancellor.

Former educator Carmen Farina, shown flanked by students, left retirement to accept the post of Schools Chancellor.

Although far more posts remain unfilled than filled, the inclusion of individuals from different ethnic groups, who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields, is a positive first step to the new mayoral administration. So far, de Blasio seems to be making cautious but sure steps to ensure that his appointments reflect the diversity of the city’s residents. Also, de Blasio’s statements in announcing the appointments have been encouraging.

Anthony Shorris was named the new first deputy mayor a few weeks ago.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio greets Anthony Shorris, who was named the new first deputy mayor a few weeks ago.

While announcing that Carter will be the new corporation counsel de Blasio expressed his commitment to closing an open wound in the city’s psyche by resolving the Central Park Jogger suit. Acknowledging that an “injustice” occurred, causing five innocent African-American and Latino boys to serve long prison sentences for raping a white jogger before DNA evidence cleared them, de Blasio said he would “settle the Central Park case.” For his part, Carter vowed to use the law “to level the playing field” for all groups.

Gladys Carrion, former chief of the State's Office of Children and Families (OCSF) is now the City's new ACS Commissioner.

New York city’s Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio shares a light moment with, Gladys Carrion, former chief of the State’s Office of Children and Families (OCSF), after announcing that she is  the City’s new ACS Commissioner.

Farina, whose appointment was made yesterday, had a lot to say. She spoke firmly about embracing a “progressive” agenda focused on “teaching not testing.” Farina, who has 40 years of experience in the city school system spanning every level from elementary school teacher to deputy commissioner in the Bloomberg administration, spoke about the need to do things differently.

“We are going to communicate often,” she said, while explaining that her philosophy on teaching versus testing is rooted in the belief that “If we do good teaching that’s the best test prep.” It appeared as if Farina, an immigrant from Spain, was not particularly interested in data-driven results, which could be problematic since data is critical to assessing the performance of students and educators alike. But her passion for education was undeniable, as was Carter’s quiet confidence, born from being a seasoned legal eagle. It remains to be seen if the full menu of de Blasio’s appointments will elicit praise or cause concern but the list so far makes the process seem promising. -OnPointPress.net

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