It is time to examine racist biases, hold local police accountable
Our country is hurting due to the death of George Floyd. As a result, our community, local government and police department are impacted as well. We are hurting because, in a land where we are all supposed to be free, black lives are told through our governmental actions and lack of community trust that they do not indeed matter. It is time that we get angry about these facts and stop turning a shoulder to the hurt.
Growing up in Camas, I have gotten to know our police officers. I have thrown candy off of the police float at the Camas Days parade, have played ping pong in the Camas High School lunch room with our school officer, and my friends and I hitched a ride home with an officer after a late-night tag game from Dorothy Fox to Camas High my senior year of high school. I know that the police officers in Camas are good people because they have kept me safe during my time in Camas. Although our officers are well-meaning and loved, we must address the fact that some may have biases that hurt people of color in the community and community. With the population of Camas being 82.3 percent White and 1.29 percent Black, it is critical to acknowledge the racism in our community. To slowly mend and repair our country, we must begin with our community. My message is as follows:
I plead for the Camas Police Department to do the following:
1. De-prioritize enforcing and prosecuting low-level offenses and reclassify misdemeanors as civil infractions, whenever possible.
2. Provide avenues for private citizens to take police to court when they believe they have been profiled based on their race, gender, immigration status, housing status, disability and more.
3. Allegations of bias should also be incorporated into the officer’s evaluation process.
4. Body cameras should be worn by officers at all times while on duty.
5. The city should collect extensive data in order to ensure effective police reform.
6. Create a transparent and searchable database on every stop, summon, frisk, use of force and arrest the Camas Police Department conducts.
As community members, it is challenging to know what the right course of action is in times of injustice, but staying silent is never an option. Understanding and confronting our own bias is imperative at this time. It is only when we confront bias that we can elicit change.
Now, we must proceed as though George Floyd was our brother, son or best friend. Get angry, write letters and ask questions. Be peaceful but loud.
At last, we have chosen liberty and justice for all
The American people have hit the streets to declare that it is no longer open season on African Americans — See one. Chase one. Kill one. No more!
We’ve finally repudiated the self-serving lies that enabled Europeans to make fortunes buying, selling and working Africans in America.
We’ve finally realized that nobody chooses their parents, that skin color is just skin color and that the opposite of poverty is not wealth — it’s justice.
So, at last, we have chosen liberty and justice for all. And we are desperate enough to struggle to make it stick.
Local legislators appreciated
I want to convey my appreciation to Ann Rivers, Brandon Vick and Larry Hoff for the manner in which they represent their constituents. Their unified approach in working to limit Washington state government expansion while supporting priorities of education and infrastructure is extremely important, especially now with the anticipated decrease in state revenues. I have also found they are consistent with their legislative updates, quarterly town halls and timely response to questions.