shannonl5
2 years ago1,000+ Views
"Marissa Johnson, left, and Mara Jacqueline Willaford—co-founders of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter—take over the microphone at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, far right, on Aug. 8, 2015 in downtown Seattle." (via Slate).
I was really inspired by this challenge from @nicolejb and the responses from @alywoah @VinMcCarthy @felicityautumn and @humairaa so I thought I'd share one of the stories that impacted me the most this year as well.
I'm a pretty jaded person when it comes to politics. The political climate feels incredibly polarized and inefficient. And while senators are wasting time stopping bills for purely political reasons people are losing their homes, getting their wages our hours cut, losing benefits they need to survive, or cutting their education short. Inequality is increasing and the worse it gets the harder it will be to correct. So being jaded honestly seems like a rational response most days.

So I didn't take much notice when Sanders came along.

His ideas sounded great to me: raising the minimum wage, investing in infrastructure, ending tuition of public universities, expanding Medicare. There's a lot of problems with that plan but the idea seems solid. Of course in the back of my head I was thinking: He'll never get elected, and if he does he won't be able to accomplish those things, or they'll be done but there won't be enough institutional support to back them up... on and on.
And he hadn't yet addressed the issue that was most important to me: Police brutality.

Police presence has been extremely heavy in NYC.

This isn't just my personal experience, but a quantifiable fact. And the results have been awful. Just this past summer the city paid an almost $6 million dollar settlement to the family or Eric Garner- who was killed by NYPD officers in 2014. However not a single person has been held accountable for his death. And this is not an isolated incident. It's an epidemic. And very few people in office are speaking about it, let alone doing anything about it.

Which is why Sanders sitting down with Black Lives Matter caught my attention.

Because unlike some of the other candidates, Sanders respected their constitutional right to convene and protest. Not only that, but he listened. He wanted to know what they felt and what he could do to help. Because of that meeting, he's added an outline for reducing racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Addressing racial inequality will of course take a long time, and racism won't go away with a few good economic policies. But what he's suggesting would mean greater opportunities for all of us- which would mean more empowerment for the people fighting for justice. He's not promising to fix it all because he can't- no one person can. But we can all start the work, and until we all do it's not going to get done.

However you feel about the issues, I encourage you to vote.

A democracy doesn't work if we're not all participating. The thing I took away from this news was that being jaded is fine- but it doesn't get anything done unless it's accompanied by action. It's so tempting to check out because you don't feel like you're being represented, because your needs aren't being addressed, or because you no longer believe in the system. I get that. But not voting doesn't solve any of those problems. Voting, writing to your representatives, working and supporting those whose work aligns with your views will empower you to focus your energy on solutions.
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@nicolejb Yup I'm a Bernie Sanders' fan even though he is a little extreme, but that's what we need to end a lot of sh*@ in the U.S. and as you said before I didn't hear anything about this on the news even though I'm still in Mexico.
2 years ago·Reply
@humairaa the media attention has been very sporadic on a lot of these issues so you're definitely not alone there. One of the biggest challenges regarding prison reform is that because people incarcerated are so removed from the rest of the world they become 'out of sight out of mind' very quickly. @CelinaGonzalez to be honest this was a very small moment. As it is Sanders doesn't get a lot of attention on the news because he refuses to insult the other candidates and he's always pretty calm. Everyone involved was respectful and patient and honestly it doesn't stand out much in a news cycle that focuses on more outrageous behavior.
2 years ago·Reply
Similar to poverty in the U.S. @shannonl5 people are removed from that too. It's harder to understand that exists in our country without seeing it on a daily basis. Living in New York and seeing the homeless population had a huge impacted on me, living away from that I had no grasp of it.
2 years ago·Reply
Honestly, I'm just numb to it all. There's no denying what's happening with the police. But even if that's corrected to some degree, we still have the issues of crime in our neighborhoods. For a lot of people, they would still have to worry if they're kids are going to come home, or get caught up in something that they aren't even a part of. That's not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the issues in the black community.
2 years ago·Reply
@TerrellHenry I think that's completely understandable. There's so much violence and hatred right now I think sometimes shutting down is the only way to protect yourself emotionally because it's so overwhelming. I think that's why it's been so important to me lately to celebrate the small victories. I worked for an arts nonprofit for a while that got to do special events in NY public schools and libraries and while it felt small (they were only a few hours) it clearly meant a lot and the students were requesting more the next year. And the work some of them are going on to do is pretty inspiring
2 years ago·Reply
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