What does public safety in our neighborhoods look like? Oakland Rising’s IVE Team Leader Vernetta Woods and East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economies’ Director of FAME Saabir Lockett join us in conversation.
In response to a recent shooting in her residential neighborhood, Vernetta shared how police response further eroded any sense of safety. A responding officer “has his hand on his gun, and he’s facing the crowd. And I’m sitting there and I’m thinking, why is the officer having his hand on his gun facing the crowd of the community that’s out here checking on one another?… I didn’t feel supported. I felt like he was gonna shoot next, like he was gonna shoot us. So that didn’t give us, well me, it didn’t give me any safety at all.”
All those folks who really want to uphold this criminal injustice system want to weaponize these moments of violence as a way to say, we need that cop that has his hand on his gun in the community more.
As Saabir shares, the “concept of public safety and police don’t even go together, first of all. That’s the analysis that’s twisted. We think that when some violence happens, increasing public safety or decreasing recidivism comes from police. No. Police are here to police, capture, subdue, and lock up. That’s what the police is here for. Public safety actually comes from investing in community…. the root cause of violence is the lack of resources, lack of investment within our communities, that will actually provide the opportunities for other avenues.
“Through various different mechanisms, society has disempowered, and made people feel like they don’t have the power and we need to rely on these corrupt systems to control our lives, when they’re actually accountable to us! So when we talk about elected officials using gun violence and stuff like that and using our pain and weaponizing it against us to further police us as well as just to simply try to get elected or throw shade on someone else who is running for office. We actually have the power to hold that accountable. Because we keep them in office.”
This is a conversation you won’t want to miss!