Rooting Out Systemic Racism in Evanston
The Citizens’ Network of Protection is committed to rooting out systemic racism in Evanston. One system, or institution, where reforms have failed to adequately address this issue is policing. The institution of policing in Evanston has not been an exception to the rule. Black and Brown people in Evanston have felt the blow of discriminatory police practices for decades and decades with no relief. Meanwhile, the Evanston Police Department budget has soared over the last 10 years, nearly doubling from 2009, and now accounting for nearly 34% of the City of Evanston general fund. The Citizens’ Network of Protection is here to help answer two fundamental questions that are critical to protecting the lives of Black and Brown people in Evanston and upending the systemic racism that is embedded in our culture and institutions.
Question #1 – What can white people do?
Organizations across this country, such as Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), have long been working on helping white people answer that question. The Citizens’ Network of Protection urges white people to read these five recommendations and put forth by SURJ and apply them to your life and community. The recommendations are outlined below, but please take the time to read the meaning and explanation behind each one. The full article can be found at: https://medium.com/@surj_action/5-ways-white-people-can-take-action-in-response-to-white-and-state-sanctioned-violence-2bb907ba5277 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence by Showing Up For Racial Justice
- Come out as anti-racist and invite others to join you.
- Join fights to defund the police.
- Make a commitment to “organize your own” for the long haul.
- Focus on building our numbers, not being right.
- Help resource the work of Black-led groups that are fighting for police accountability and abolition.
Question #2 – What are alternatives to calling the police?
Steps to Ask Yourself
- Is this merely an inconvenience to me? > Can I put up with this and be okay? If the answer is yes, then do not call the police or go chasing the individual where you inflict bodily harm on him/her/them.
- No, I need to respond > Can I handle this on my own, is this something I could try to talk-out with the person? Ask yourself, did you see the person do something wrong or are people in harm’s way? Before you chase or call the police on the Black individual, remember that people have the right to walk or go where they please on public property.
- No, I need back-up > Is there a friend, neighbor, or someone whom I could call to help me?
- No, I need a professional > Can we use mediation to talk through what’s happening or is there an emergency response hotline I could call that does not involve police interaction?
- No,> If I call the police do I understand how involving the police could impact me and the other person? If police are present do you know what to do? If yes, collect information as to what the individual looks like and where he/she/they went and relate this to the police. Say you decide you need to interact with police. Let’s discuss how you can minimize harm. Can you go to the police station with photos instead of bringing the police to your neighborhood?
Inviting police into your community may be putting people in your neighborhood at risk.
Reading Lists to Keep Learning!
- What To Do Instead of Calling the Police – A google doc resource guide
- Calling Someone Other Than the Cops – by Conor Friedersdorf
- Feeling for the Edge of your Imagination: finding ways not to call the police – By Caroline Loomis