Black Lives Matter and Police Officers?

For immediate release:

Dear Friends,

I am writing this post to convey how I feel about ##blacklivesmatter, police officers, and our society.

The question I am presenting today, is can you support #BLM and Police Officers at the same time?

Some say no, but I say you can. There are many noble and honorable Public Safety Officers, who do their jobs with compassion and respect. I will go further and say by far the majority of officers. I want to thank them for their service and their families for their personal sacrifices. Many officers work for 20-30 years with no complaints and positive outcomes. This is true of all professions. Most people get up and go to work to do good.

Now does this mean, that if I fundamentally believe that the vast majority of police do a good job, that I do not see issues with enforcement or blatant, long-term oppression that black men and women face everyday? I see that clearly. Racism is not just in policing. It is in our schools: black boys are disciplined at much higher rates than their peers and expelled more often. We see it in jobs, in promotions, and in receiving support or companies investing in black communities. We see it in our prisons and jails. We see it in pay equity. Black individuals are paid generally 50% less than their Anglo Colleagues. The stats for Latinos are not much better. There is a huge achievement gap for Black and Latino students. They also are much more likely to face chronic health conditions: diabetes, hyper tension, and obesity. As COVID-19 has hit hard in Black, Latino, and Native American communities.

These communities are much more likely to live in poverty and have few options for healthy food or open space in their neighborhoods. Simply put, they endure an every day, systemic issues, that make theirs lives much tougher than many can imagine.As has been noted activities such as jogging, going to the market, going to school, can all be everyday activities for most, but if you are a person of color, these activities are risky, depending on who you might encounter. We need a lens, an understanding of these types of issues, in order to take the steps in not only turning things around, but advancing them.

This weekend I attended a very inspiring protest in Fullerton, led by young, engaged individuals. I have the opportunity as an elected official, to be in a position to support or oppose legislation to make critical changes. So as I head to Sacramento, I will read and look closely at what is presented.

In no way do I want to defund police. I want to make sure we have less deaths, less enforcement issues, and with budgets stretched, a balance of public safety funding. We must keep safety net funding for mental healthseniors, foster care, homelessness, and housing. We are in a period of a breakdown and I pray the result is a breakthrough, that values black and brown communities and our public safety.

Best to all of you this week. #wearamask, COVID-19 did not take the last few weeks off!