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Local Black Community Leaders Hold Meeting to Discuss Racism

By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter

The death of George Floyd and subsequent police brutality protests have sparked a series of community conversations and political action concerning racism. During the month of June, federal, state and local governments have responded in varying degrees to community concerns. In response, local Black leaders organized a meeting on June 18 to discuss those topics.

The YWCA of Northwest Ohio, Toledo NAACP Unit and Lucas County Children Services organized the June 18 meeting. "The meeting came as a result of the city of Toledo and Lucas County passing ordinances declaring racism as a public health crisis. Acknowledgment of the crisis is great, but what are we going to do about it?" asked Lisa McDuffie, president/CEO of YWCA.

Representatives from the faith-based community, local unions, government offices, education, scholarly research, healthcare services, mental health agencies and grassroot community action agencies discussed the cause and effect of racism in the community that were described as overarching themes. The group plans to continue holding discussions in the coming weeks.

"We applaud the individuals and the organizations working hard in this space. There has been 400 years of oppression and now that the world and community is ‘woke,’ where do we begin to address inequalities. Police reform is vitally important but so is equity of education, employment, health care, etc." said McDuffie.

The executive and legislative branches of government have crafted three different actions in response police brutality and racism. President Trump signed an executive order in early June 2020 to call attention to chokeholds and excessive force, increase de-escalation training, and increase authority of a national database to track terminated or decertified officers.

The Senate introduced in June the JUSTICE Act which stands for Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere. The bill would discourage chokeholds and increase the use of body-worn cameras, increase de-escalation training methods and duty to intervene tactics, encourage community policing, require reporting of officer weapon discharge or use of force, define lynching as a federal crime, and commission two studies about issues faced by black men and boys and also the entire criminal justice system.

The Lucas County Commissioners and Toledo City Council issued resolutions declaring racism as a public health crisis in June 2020.

The House of Representatives introduced in the month of June, the Justice in Policing Act that would grant authority to issue subpoenas and investigate bias, establish a federal registry of police misconduct complaints and disciplinary actions, require body-worn cameras and dashboard cameras, reduce police issued military equipment, require law enforcement agencies adopt anti-discrimination policies and training programs, ban chokeholds or other carotid holds, prohibit the issuance of no-knock warrants, and mandate that federal officers use deadly force only as a last resort. “The slow, torturous murder of George Floyd by a uniformed police officer was an outrageous, tragedy and embarrassment of our country in front of the whole world. Members of Congress, we have the opportunity in front of us right now, to examine police practices in America and legislate reform to police practices,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass the Congressional Black Caucus Chair during the Act hearing last week.





Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/26/20 01:04:30 -0400.

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