Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle was not surprised by the George Zimmerman verdict. We all are aware of the way that white supremacy attributes anti-human characteristics to Black people in ways that make us vulnerable to gratuitous violence. From Hurricane Katrina, to police brutality, mass incarceration, and now the Zimmerman verdict is just another episode in the saga of American racism.
It is important that we use the awareness that has been initiated by Zimmerman verdict to produce concrete changes that can begin to provide us some protection against on-going state sponsored violence. In light of this we are advancing a legislative agenda to combat the forces that render Black Life disposable here in Maryland that can hopefully become inspiration for other state around the country. Our agenda consist of three parts:
1.) Christopher’s Law – Pass legislation that provide specific penalties for law-enforcement officers who use excessive force (particularly toward Black and Brown youth). This bill would be similar to HB1281 that was introduced in last year’s session (also known as Christopher’s Law in memory of a young man named Christopher Brown who was killed by law enforcement in Baltimore County in 2012).
2) Redistribute resources from incarceration to community empowerment – The Maryland State government was going to spend $104 million on building a new juvenile detention facility in east Baltimore. With the help of many other organizations and individuals we were able to stop the state from building the facility. We are now going to get the resources that were going to be invested in building a jail to be directed at investments in the communities that are most directly effected by the forces of white supremacy.
3.) Stop the automatic charging of youth as adults – Currently those detained in the juvenile system receive many essential services necessary to help youth with things like mental health, substance, abuse, education etc. Those incarcerated in the adult system do not have these kinds of services provided to them. Unfortunately there are too many youth who are automatically charged as adults.
In the 2013 MD Legislative session, LBS was instrumental in stopping the construction of a $104 Million Dollar youth prison in East Baltimore. Click here to read more.
For information on how to get involved, email Dayvon Love at email@example.com.
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