LETTER TO THE EDITOR — Police violence and how to stop it: Public forum on policing, race and class

To whom it may concern,
From Asheville to Raleigh to Charlotte and across the world, groups of black activists, students and workers lead a growing movement against racism and state violence.
By taking the streets together to proclaim and demand that #BlackLivesMatter, we are continuing a long and proud tradition of ordinary people uniting in the struggle against injustice and once again our streets ring with the challenge, who do you protect? Who do you serve?
In America, policing as we know it originates in the southern slave patrols and in private armies to fight labor organizing and protest in the north. In other words, to control laboring people and impose the law and order of the elite upon them.
The repressive role of the police continues from the era of Jim Crow to the war on drugs and mass incarceration.
A golden age of policing that we can look back to for solutions to the current crisis of police brutality in Black America does not exist. Today’s police forces are highly trained, funded, equipped and diversified. However, the nightmare continues for the people who suffer the constant threat of arrest, torture, false imprisonment and execution at the hands of unaccountable police departments.
Change is long overdue, yet the mainstream conversation focuses on embattled police departments telling us over and over again they are doing their best in a tough job.
Meanwhile the death toll rises with at least 710 civilians killed this year and the settlements paid out in large cities to victims of police misconduct reach into the millions each year. This, alongside increasing police budgets and shrinking budgets for schools and services, results in mayors and council members pleading poverty.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement raises consciousness of these and so many other facts of daily life for black people in America. To keep building this movement we must work to change the consciousness of those around us and win larger numbers to the fight for liberation and to advance the struggle to build a world in which people live free from the suffering inflicted by both poverty and police violence, it will be necessary to assemble together for discussion, debate, comradely critique and commiseration.
The Justice4Jerry campaign and the International Socialist Organization will meet on Wednesday Sept. 7 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in Highsmith Student Union room 221.

Jacob Cook
UNCA Student