just finished watching the BET American Injustice town hall
a few of my thoughts:
1 – lowering mandatory minimums is not the same as eradicating them and I wish one of the panelists had talked about that re the first step bill.
There is a huge anti-black bias embedded in the prosecution of crimes with mandatory minimums and the only reason we have them in the first place is fear, racism, and the false perception that being “tough on crime” actually gets us somewhere… it doesn’t.
2 – I greatly appreciated the young lady’s (the student’s) question regarding hyper-policing in schools which is at the heart of addressing the school-to-prison pipeline but I do not feel anyone gave a direct answer to her question or concern.
Valdez Demings basically threw school staff under the bus saying they call upon the police too much while dancing around the reason why law enforcement officers entered schools in the first place (i.e. more money for the police department, fear, and racism)
And while eloquent Karen Bass’ answer talked about truancy laws, not the presence of police in schools.
So neither answer spoke to the high presence of police officers in schools (the hyper-policing this student was talking about). We need to greatly decreasing the number of cops in classrooms (the ideal number: zero).
3 – They touched on it with the question regarding “reimagining public safety” particularly when mentioning a community response to public safety, but I wish that the idea of prison abolition and alternatives to policing had been openly discussed and debated.
All that being said, I did think it was a great and informative discussion and I’m definitely glad they held the town hall!