After Ferguson. After over one thousand people killed by police every year, most unarmed involved in “quality of life” crimes. After so much resultant distrust of the police, came Black Lives Matter, a nation wide grassroots movement to end unjust police killings. It could have just been a hashtag. It could have begun and ended with complaining and fear and distrust, making the problem worse. But BLM took the other way. They ImagineGov’d.
They imagined “a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions and ensuring accountability.” And they’re making it happen with Campaign Zero.
Campaign Zero is a practical blueprint to end police violence. Their solutions to end the issues of police violence, increasing community safety, and increasing trust in policy, are well-though out, well-researched, and achievable around the country.
They call for ending broken-windows policing, which causes mass arrests for low-level offenses, including selling loose cigarettes, loitering, or drinking in public. This policy leads to thousands of people having arrest records and to increased fear of police interactions. When we see police as the enemy, rather than as our protection, too much is wrong. And that is the reality in many communities of color.
They call for demilitarizing the police, so they’re not fighting street crime with tanks and protesters with tear gas, that can lead to escalation (see Ferguson). They ask for increasing police training and for the police to wear body cams to record their interactions with the community. They want to end policing for profit, where the police end up prioritizing arrests that will lead to seizing the assets of suspects in order to protect the city budget.
The policies they call for are really best practices, most already in place in some jurisdictions in the United States.
But what is secretly exciting about this project is how it came to be. Campaign Zero grew out of the Black Lives Matter movement. People talk about Black Lives Matter as if its members are “radical, anti-police, and anti-white.” And some said that they were unable to see government as an important way to solve these systemic problems.
Of course, this could not have been more wrong. With Campaign Zero, its founders, Samuel Sinyangwe, Brittany Packnett, Johnetta Elzie, and DeRay McKesson, also co-founders of We The Protesters, envisioned living in a world where our public systems and structures help and do not harm. They researched and talked with experts and found strong, practical solutions to bring that vision for into reality. And now, they are doing the work to bring that dream into reality.
This is a big and important ImagineGov. What can you do to help make it happen?