Tag Archives: Systemic racism

Healing places and healing hearts

Parlee for Rosalie
ICT writer, Parlee! Go, Ms. Jones, go!!!

By Parlee Jones

It’s been a while since I have put pen to paper. I love to write. I have been busy with my own life. Things are happening. My children are preparing to leave for
college. I’m moving. I work daily with homeless women and families at Abby’s House.

And then, all of a sudden, you wake up and see a video that stops you in your tracks. You have no choice but to pause. You have no choice but to shed tears and tear at your hair as you watch another black man being executed, live and in living color.

On your phone, on television, on your computer.

Over and over again, you see this murder.

My heart is heavy. Aside from the two executions we saw over the week of July 4th, Philando Castille and Alton Sterling, there was the shooting of the Dallas Police Officers, the subsequent bombing of
the alleged shooter of the police officers.

There was a young Black man found hanging in a tree in Atlanta (atlantamagazine.com/news-culture-articles/what-really-happened-to-
the-man-found-hanging-in-piedmont-park).

There were six young Latino brothers who lost their lives to police violence (telesurtv.net/english/news/5-Latinos-Killed-by-US-
Cops-this-WeekAnd-Media-Ignored-It-20160708-0024).

The young brother who was
chased by a group of young white men and died from an asthma attack. (nydailynews.com/new-york/staten-island-teen-dies-asthma-fleeing-racist-crew-
article-1.2659272).

The Black man who was shot by an off-duty cop point blank during
a traffic dispute. (nytimes.com/2016/07/11/nyregion/video-of-fatal-shooting-
by-off-duty-officer-in-brooklyn-emerges).

Were you aware of these incidents of violence?

How my heart is crying for these lost lives. How my heart is mourning for these families who now must bury their people. How my heart is hurting because, instead
of dealing with the truth of systemic racism, and seeing the execution of these men live
and in living color, some folks still need to wait for the investigation.

Some folks say the police were doing their job.

All I have to say about that is: When did the police become judge and jury? Why do we allow men who seem to be afraid of people with
melanin or actually hate people of color, to supposedly protect our communities?

If you are okay with the way our police are policing, you may be part of the problem.

I had the humbling privilege of being a part of the Freedom Circles: Healing for Marginalized Communities Workshop. It was the first of a series of workshops. It is being hosted by BLM Worcester. The first workshop was facilitated by Julius Jones, founder of BLM Worcester. Future sessions will be led by others healers.

Julius is a love-centered activist. He is trained in Family Constellations, a popular healing
modality that explores the ancestral origins of our power, our persistent and “unsolvable” problems and their solutions.

We broke out into groups of two and practiced a technique called “Resonating” where we learn to listen and hold space for each other without projecting our own “stuff” onto them. Then we took a deep dive into internalized oppression. We talked about beginning to undo the harmful messages we receive from others and ourselves.

It was amazing.

After being so assaulted by the
coverage of the murders, I was feeling hopeless. Helpless. This was a space for me to be with like-minded people. People who want to understand true history. Something
that is not taught in schools. Part of the freeing of my own mind was learning Our Story.

If you do not know your true history – the history of your people, regardless of where you are from because unless you are a Native American your people are not from this land we call
home – if you do not learn the TRUE history of America, its founding Fathers and how this systemic racism was born, you truly cannot free your mind.

We have been conditioned to accept whatever is given by the powers that be.

We all belong to each other.

How can I help you understand that?

Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal will do harm to the poor and communities of color

lily-1
Keep it real – and fair

By Gordon Davis

Disparate Impact is when a so called neutral policy has a more severe negative impact on one protected class than on other protected classes.

A local columnist wrote about Charlie Baker’s support for a change in the law that would change the penalties for assault and battery on a police officer to mandatory jail time.

This policy disparately impacts poor communities and communities of people with dark skin.

Poor people have more interactions with the police because we walk, take the bus and drive early model cars. Each interaction such as fitting the description, broken tail lights, and stop and frisk increases the likelihood of a bad outcome.

I have personal experience with these pretexts. In the 1970s I was walking home on Austin Street and a police officer, James Reardon, arrested me for walking without an ID. He charged me with being disorderly and rudeness.

The judge dismissed the case.

Another time at a demonstration a person pushed a woman protester and I got between them. The person then attacked me. I was struck in the back of the head by a police officer whom I never saw. He then charged me with assault and battery on a police officer. The police officer chose to protect the bully and cover up his battery on me with a pretext.

Again, when I told my story in court the judge dismissed the case.

The worst experience of pretext was when I was arrested at another demonstration. The police officer was out of shape. I heard the order from the sergeant to arrest “anyone.” The big cop arrested me for no apparent reason other than I was nearby. When in the police station the cops threw me on the floor and used a choke stick until I nearly blacked out. I was relieved when someone yelled out: “Stop it! He had enough!”

This case was also dismissed.

The city government of Worcester has used pretext to enforce a racist disparately negative policy. For years, and even today, the gang unit has a policy of stop and frisk without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. Sometimes “fitting the description” is the pretext. Most of the time no explanation is given.

An example of this was when the Worcester Youth Center was located in Federal Square.

The alcove in front of the store-front was private property. The Youth Center kids would gather in the alcove and smoke and talk. The police did not have authority over smoking on private property. Authority or not, the police continually ordered the kids to go inside. When the Youth Center director complained, the police arrested him for assault and battery on a police officer. This case was like the other pretexts.

Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal will do harm to the poor and people of color communities.

It will contribute to racist mass incarceration.

The drug abuse laws have been written with a disparately negative impact on the poor and communities of color.

These laws creating mandatory prison sentences for assault and battery on police officers will be unfairly enforced and have an unfair impact.

Worcester Police Chief Sargent has stated that his policy for policing is the “Broken Windows.” This policy needs to be explained to our communities. Will it increase the negative interactions between the residents of Worcester and the police?

There is need in Worcester for a real discussion about race and police policy. City Council, city manager and our WPD should be transparent with the residents of Worcester.