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San Antonio – Are YOU Really Ready to Take a Stand?

Dear San Antonio,

The tragic death of George Floyd highlighted the many problems in the justice system, which include  racism, overly aggressive tactics, a taboo against turning in a fellow cop, or hostility turned on those who speak up. This should not be the norm! Every American should be treated fairly in police custody. People of all colors are now protesting because they too recognize there are systemic problems that no longer can be overlooked.

Police departments everywhere need to scour their explicit and implicit training practices to identify and eradicate the causes of senseless deaths. They should look for resolutions to include sensitivity training, diverse police leadership and officers, and screen officers better before hiring them. Police departments should also include community advisory groups that have enforcement authority to improve accountability.

Beyond the justice system, companies need to apply microscopes to their own organizations and ask are they truly incorporating a variety of socio-economic perspectives and people of color in the boardrooms and the decision-making processes? The seats around the table cannot be filled with a single ethnicity. Communities of color will continue to have a fiscal knee on their neck unless we are given equal access. How can organizations claim they see the injustices that many are familiar with when their own policies and employment practices promote a culture of let’s do business or hire someone who looks like the status quo? Those practices don’t make America great!

This latest incident should be a frightening reminder that the racist and aggressive tactics that four police officers chose to take not only caused the death of George Floyd, but destroyed many lives. The Floyd family will never be the same. The officers involved and their families are forever torn apart. If the Minneapolis Police Department would have acted sooner to deal with the 18 prior citizen complaints against officer Derek Chauvin maybe the whole department and others across the US wouldn’t be in turmoil.

Activist and novelist James Baldwin once said, “I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.” We are hoping San Antonio organizations change their policies now before we evolve into a Minneapolis PD.

If you stand with us, you must recognize racism permeates every industry. This destructive mindset often begins at home and is fostered socially. We must learn to overcome this oppressive cancer before it leads to more costly mistakes. If San Antonio wants to be a city of the 21st century, we have to acknowledge racism where it exists from our socioeconomic stereotypes to ones that will tear down organizations and communities.

– San Antonio Association of Black Journalists & Communication Professionals