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I realize that this is a heated topic, and I mean no disrespect to anyone, nor am I trying to minimize the senseless tragedies that occur each day across the globe, or dishonour their memories.
Firstly, I want to thank each and every police officer that wakes up every day to protect others. It is a most noble calling to stand for others, and to support the community. Police officers have one of the toughest jobs, they throw themselves in danger to protect us, and I love them for it.
Recently I heard about a bunch of cops in a coffee shop being asked to leave as other patrons were uncomfortable with their presence. How did we get here? How did we create a society where those we have appointed to be our protectors are looked upon with fear? This is a question that must be asked of both sides, so that we can rebuild and evolve this much needed institution.
Police are supposed to be the best of Society, they are supposed to be pinnacles of our hopes and dreams. They need to uphold the best tenets of our people; compassion, kindness, courage, patience, understanding, and justice.
Without these qualities we can never create a better street, a better community, a better world—not for just some of us, but ALL of us. One people, one world, one voice, the voice of compassion, our humanity made real each day by acts of kindness and courage.
The badge must be colourblind, seeing the human heart behind the face no matter the beautiful shade. I know right now it’s tough with most of society afraid of you, or hating the badge, but it has to be. Each person, each interaction must be taken without prejudice or expectations. Each person who interacts with an officer must be given the benefit of the doubt to ensure the proper fulfillment of an officer's purpose, to serve and protect. They must be paragons of justice and compassion.
Justice, this is a cornerstone of our society, and one that must speak for all of us, regardless of color, social status, gender, orientation, birthplace, or sex. The police are the front line champions of that institution, and they must set the tone. They must carry the best ideals of that institution to ensure that justice remains blind.
This will be difficult, especially with what’s happening, but I ask each officer to remember who they are and why the put on the badge. We need to be able to look up to all of you with pride. I have met some beautiful officers who helped me and made me safe, while some scared me. Each of us, civilian or judiciary must stand for those cherished ideals. Together with the community we can rebuild the tarnished relationship, and polish the badge so it shines ever so much brighter than before.
Now, to the communities they serve, we as a society need to build bridges to reach common ground. I know history has shown badges stained with blood and hate; it’s the fear of repetition that haunts us. The loss of life breaks my heart, and we must prevent it from happening again, but we can only do that together. The horrors of the past must never be forgotten, but we cannot continue to inflict them upon each other. Each time we forget our humanity we become a little less human.
We, each of us, need to create a society where we communicate not through video cameras, badges, or fear that only create more divisions between the officer and the community. We need local outreach programs for the police to get to know the people they serve. To understand what issues plague the community and what divides them and us. Without creating these bridges we will never be able to cross them.
How can we properly communicate? How can we move forward unless we try something new? How can the Police protect the people and their communities without knowing them?
We need to come together to bridge the divides between society and our institutions. Regardless of title or badge, we are all one people; we all hope, we all dream of a better future for us and those we love. It’s never been your people or my people, we are, and have always been, one people.
Humanity and our institutions form a symbiosis with each other to create our society. Through our creations of notes, tempo, style, substance, hopes and dreams, we live, we express, we learn identity. Through these, our Humanity connects us together in our collective culture. Those are the reasons we live; to express ourselves, to live, laugh, love, to be free. Freedom from expectations, prejudice, fear, violence, harm, or injustice.
The law is meant to uphold our freedoms, to defend the people, to safeguard communities not just by patrols, but involvement. Becoming a part of the community, to know your community and understand their struggles. To live it through the faces, hearts, and stories of your people, our people.
It’s time that we start to mend these divisions that we have inherited and those we witness. The police must be paragons of justice, promoting the good aspects of society, not using fear as a tool. Fear creates fear, which begets a more fearful world.
The community must find common ground to remind the police what they are fighting for. We must remind them that we are not a random face or a name. A reminder that we are living, breathing people with families, friends, hopes, and dreams just like them. We are all living towards, dreaming of, and building the future to sustain us as a species.
We must remind them and ourselves that life itself is sacred. That each of us, each member of our species must learn to respect life and each other. Each life matters, no matter what situation occurs, deadly force must always remain the last resort. Where police are held accountable, but supported by the community so that all can be counted on.
As Wonder Woman once said “do not kill if you can wound, to not wound if you can subdue, do not subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you have first extended it”
We need to support the police more, as well as the community, for the police are members of the community. We need to ensure they have enough training; training not when to pull out the gun, but when not to. We need to ensure that fear no longer controls our reactions. Police should not fear the community, and the community should not fear the police.
While I understand I know nothing about being racially profiled, or what it’s like behind the badge. I know that we can be better together. A future where the only color we see is the red of our beautiful beating hearts. We need to combat fear with Hope, hope that our police remain safe in protecting and serving, and Hope that our communities remain safe in that protection.
“You either create a world for everyone or else you will end up in a world fit for no one.”
John Ames Birch