There is a change in mindset that's taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better… That's a direct result of the activities and organizing and mobilization and engagement of so many young people across the company, who put themselves out on the line to make a difference… This country was founded on protest. It is called the American Revolution, and every step of progress in this country, every expansion of freedom, every expression of our deepest ideals has been won through efforts that made the status quo uncomfortable. And we should all be thankful for folks who are willing, in a peaceful, disciplined way, to be out there making a difference.”
—Barack Obama, June 2020
A New Call to Action
When My Brother’s Keeper launched in 2014, we knew that if we wanted to make a difference for our youth, we had to reckon with the truth about how difficult it is for people of color to thrive in America. Telling the truth about the Black experience with policing will remain at the center of our work through the MBK Alliance and the Reimagining Policing Pledge moving forward.
To keep this work going, we need everyone. Parents, teachers, business owners, students, neighbors, voters, and individuals from every background and part of the country can help keep the focus on public safety reform. The Reimagining Policing Pledge centers on cities, but government leaders at all levels create and maintain public safety policy. So, if you’ve read this report and are wondering how to get involved and shift the status quo, here’s how:
- Commit to truth-telling and accountability,
- Continue to learn about the history of policing and police violence,
- Explore what types of reform have worked,
- Push yourself and your leaders to keep fighting when progress stalls,
- Unite with unlikely allies,
- Advocate for equitable solutions,
- Engage with likely allies and community organizations.
Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud/Shutterstock
If you are an elected official, remember that while this work requires acting with urgency, lasting impact takes shape over months and years. Commit to a long-term journey and be prepared to sprint when needed. To the cities who have made the Reimagining Policing Pledge, we say thank you. The MBK Alliance and our partners will continue to monitor progress and support cities in their reform efforts. To communities that have not made the pledge, we say join us. We welcome any municipality or county that has oversight over local law enforcement, wishes to commit to lasting change, and could benefit from being part of a learning community of practice with like-minded leaders. We will continue to support communities that take the pledge with monthly workshops and office hours with leading change-makers from across sectors with a track record of success. We’ll continue sharing lessons learned and best practices, reporting on progress, and creating forums for candid learning and sharing. Click here to learn more and take the pledge.
If you are a community member, use your voice. Keep your commitment to change and justice and continue calling for truth-telling and accountability. Learn about how police reform works and how you can use your time, talent, and treasure to support and sustain reform. Individuals can sign petitions, send letters, spotlight activists and innovators, join civilian oversight boards, attend community hearings, and more. Click here to review resources that we compiled to help you on your journey, social media language you can use to continue turning anguish into action, and educational guides to keep you up to speed on the latest.
In the words of Congressman John Lewis at our Mental Health During a Racism Pandemic town hall after the killing of George Floyd, “We’re going to get there, it’s all going to work out. But we must help it work out. We must continue to be bold, brave, courageous, push and pull to redeem the soul of America and move closer to a community at peace with itself.” We know our collective action will pay off and we remain committed to supporting young people and their dreams.