I don't need to revisit the hundreds of police killings around this country over the past few years (not to mention the dozens of recorded encounters) to know that we have to start talking about cops; and I think, with respect to the readers of Rooflines and many workers in progressive community and economic development institutions around the country, that we understand that Black lives do indeed matter, yet the country has for far too long insisted on the opposite. But I must admit that I remain incredibly underwhelmed by the responses I've seen from many community and economic development organizations around this issue, considering it is actually quite central to our work.
It's clear that many of the most downtrodden communities in the country—from declining mid-size cities in the Rust Belt to the inner cities and now the poor inner-ring suburbs of our largest cities, to poor small cities around the country—suffer from acute governmental indifference, EXCEPT in the case of the deployment of police. Politicians of all stripes decry community violence, but the popular response from cities and states is to double down on police funding. The predictable result is the growing of our already obscenely large population of imprisoned people, and further abusing communities already suffering from intense violence. Ultimately, already poor communities are made poorer—not only due to the indignities of dealing with an occupying force in the police, who manage to be both indifferent to local suffering and feckless in investigating actual crimes—but by the removal of youth and adults from their communites and marking people with an arrest or incarceration record for life. In some of the most policed areas of the country it is hard to find an adult without a record of some sort and, of course, this has severe repercussions for folks' ability to find work and get further education if they choose.
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