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His Name Is George Floyd  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer just over two years ago. His killing sparked a movement to end unjustified police killings and racist law enforcement practices. Unfortunately, the killings have not stopped. The George Floyd Police Justice Act was blocked by Senate Republicans last year. The struggle continues in communities large and small.

During the racial justice protests that erupted after the video of Floyd’s killing went viral around the world, millions chanted his name as they demanded accountability and justice. now,remarkable bookexamines Floyd’s life and death in the context of our history and what one author calls the “complex, tangled web” created by racism in this country.

  

“His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Fight for Racial Justice” is written by Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunipa. It is based on the reports of their colleagues and on intimate interviews with Floyd’s family, romantic partners and circle of friends.

At a time when politicians forbid educators from acknowledging that systemic racism exists, Samuels and Olorunipa document in painful detail the ways in which racially discriminatory policies in housing, education, health care, addiction, policing, and more have contributed to “life in which Floyd repeatedly found his dreams diminished, delayed and derailed – in no small part because of the color of his skin.”

  

“For example,” Samuels says, “you couldn’t separate the disproportionate use of force by police departments against African-Americans from the junk science that’s still being taught that black people are more resistant to pain.

“We could not ignore the fact that these same instincts led to inadequate mental health treatment in George Floyd’s life, nor could we separate the fact that society simultaneously encouraged George Floyd to gain weight to pursue his athletic dreams, and then stereotyped him as dangerous when he was off the field.”

The book doesn’t try to make Floyd into a saint. Not necessary. He was a human being. He did nothing to deserve to be killed in the street by a brutal cop who shouldn’t be wearing a badge.

His Name is George Floyd is worth reading for many reasons. It gives us a fuller picture of the man that was George Floyd. It introduces us to many people who loved him and sought a measure of justice for his murder. And it points out some important facts about the police in this country.

One is the need for accountability. [Police Officer Derek] Chauvin had a record of violent behavior. When abusive police officers are not held accountable, more people will be subjected to their violence.

Another point is that policing is a local problem that requires local solutions. National policies, like those in the George Floyd Justice Act, can help. But holding brutal cops accountable, getting them off the street, or better yet, preventing them from being hired in the first place, all of this requires change at the local level.

People for the American Way have spent the two years since Floyd’s killing developing a road map to transform public safety. We looked at the research. We spoke with forensic scientists, government officials, clergy and other community activists and members of law enforcement.“Everything Safe: Transforming Public Safety”is a guide for government officials and community activists seeking to make their communities safer.

Among the essential steps to make policing fairer and more effective at the same time: improving staffing to weed out potentially dangerous cops, holding violent officers accountable, and removing unfit police officers. Also, importantly, restructuring public safety systems to reduce the unnecessary involvement of armed officers in situations for which they are not needed and for which they are not trained is good for both cops and communities.

The authors of “His Name is George Floyd” describe optimism in the face of our history as a defense mechanism and a means of survival. I am optimistic that we can put an end to unjust police killings. I am optimistic that we can uncomfortably build the grand coalitions that will be necessary.

“Our book makes the argument that if we can demonstrate step by step how this country’s history of racism continues to shape people today, then we can continue the good work of dismantling systemic racism,” Samuels told me in an email. “We need to connect theory with practice.”

This work belongs to all of us. We know what changes will make our communities safer. Let’s organize, city by city and city by city, to make it happen.

Ben Yilows serves as president of People For the American Way and professor of practice at the University of Pennsylvania. A New York Times bestselling author, his next book, Never Forget Our People Have Always Been Free, will be published by Harper Collins in December 2022.

His Name Is George Floyd  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link His Name Is George Floyd  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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