At this year’s midwinter conference we had a fantastic turnout with close to 700 interested and dedicated sorors. We had an excellent guest speaker, Darieth Chisolm. (picture below, L-R, myself, Darieth, Rhonda and Maritza)
Mrs Chisolm gave a riveting talk about getting what you want out of life and loving yourself through it.
After some reflections the next section was a whopper. We had a discussion that centered around what’s going on in society now and the non aggressive way to handling it. On the panel we had police officers, detectives, NAACP officials, NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforment Executives) members, NULPY (National Urban League Young Professionals), a social worker, criminals justice expert and a Lawyer all residing over the duscussion. The main topic, brought to our attention by Soror Marcia Harris, NE Syntaktes, is called:
“The Golden Alert”
To put it briefly, there are some police officials and members of the public, mostly African Americans males, that are acting on their own accord with respect to violence, breaking the law and peace making. With the situations of 2014 and earlier years spiraling out of control, we as the public, are getting scared but the majority of us, are getting angry. This is where the Golden Alert comes into play. I am paraphrasing the statement by International Grand Basileus Bonita M Herring…we all get mad, but instead of pushing for more violence, we need to take action a different way. Let your voices be heard through the communities, educate our youths, vote for a change, bring awareness in meetings…..Don’t just get mad, but take a proactive stand.
This was accompanied with several ideas from the panel as well. Mr Wyndal Gordon esq. Criminal Justice Expert stated that when pulled over by a police officer, grab your phone and begin recording the conversation, so if push comes to shove, you have the same information as the officer, as to what went on in the car. He said this is the world we live in and you have to be aware and be ready for anything. Now what was interesting was Major Robinson III semi rebuttal. Where as he understands the rights and usage of phones, he said that you can’t enter a situation feeling as if you are expecting something to happen. Being a detective from the Baltimore department, he has had his share of racial discrimination. He gave us an example of how the slightest thing, as being called ‘Bwoy’ several times by a caucasion officer would rub anyone the wrong way. He said it was due to his father’s teachings from a very young age that lead him to look at the situation and not react with hostility. It seems the officer, though it was unprofessional, had no hostile intent or threatening body language. If he had been looking for a reason to jump or expecting the worse of the officer, he would have reacted from the first “bwoy”.
Alot of adults and youths need to learn and remember these lessons:
If both parties are expecting the worst, we will only expect the worst in each other.
Brandi Richards from NULYP stated that what we are doing now needs to be more futuristic, we need to be figuring out how to prevent these situations from occuring in the first place, both on the officer and the civilains side. With that in mind we can only hope the body cam, cameras worn on all police officers, will help decrease the confusions and irritations of both parties. Detective Richards VP of the NYC police department says she stands by the body cams. In her city they are working to prevent situations from escalating, by letting both parties be aware of who is present and what the situation is ( the camera has a 3 sec delay for the officers to annouce the camera is being turned on and that they will be recorded). Usually both parties feel comfortable and hostility decreases.
The body cam will be working its way through states in the U.S. and hopefully we can see a nationwide decrease of incidents. The body cam not only protects the rights of citizens but also the police officers, because as Major Robinson III said ” …behind their badges and uniform, they are humans,” and are susceptible to human error like the rest of us.
I can understand both sides of the argument. The importance of being prepared for a situation, and of not letting built up anger and resentment rule your state of mind. However, when in a situation, where the unknown is hovering over both set of individuals, who’s to know how one will react because as life has it, nothing is as simple as it seems.
Until we meet again
Until we meet again.