“The current drift toward
The work of Bickel and others highlights the fact that military tactics, use of force, and the racialized lens of viewing African-American bodies as a threat to domestic tranquility and democracy influenced, and currently influences, police policy. Police departments in the 1980s, with the expansion of the war on drugs, began to look more like military operations, versus community services for safety. The Trump administration is immersed in this tragically flawed strategy of military-style response to socio-economic issues. This response demeans citizens living in challenged communities and undermines law enforcement professionalism and
Instead of federal troops, let us create federal opportunities to move thousands of people in Englewood, Roseland, and Garfield Park into the hallmark of the American dream – homeownership. If Mr. Trump truly desires to help those “huddled masses yearning to be free …,” then unfreeze the grants flowing from the Environmental Protection Agency and direct those funds to those depressed neighborhoods in Chicago. As strange as it may sound, local gardens sitting on abandoned lots, along with farmers markets, actually decrease incidents of violence. This theory is backed by the creative work of Grow Greater Englewood, Green Lots, Black Oaks, the Sustainable Englewood Initiative, Imagine Englewood, God’s Gang, Faith in Place, and The Endeleo Institute. All of these excellent, community-based, but underfunded programs, have curbed violence, increased access to fresh foods, redesigned abandoned lots, and trained youth for educational success. “Greening the Hood”, to coin a phrase, creates quasi block clubs, develops tighter bonds with residents, and creates unique opportunities for youth to expand their imagination.
If Mr. Trump truly desires to help Chicago, a top priority of his administration must be to stop the alarming recidivism rate in cities such as Chicago. The current federal and state incarceration policies punish not only individuals, but families and communities. The formerly incarcerated are not given full citizen’s rights once they serve their debt to society. This system reduces their economic opportunities and employability, forcing them to permanently swing from the lower rung of America’s ladder of success. The formerly incarcerated (at Trinity United Church of Christ, we prefer the term, “returning citizens”), live in a civic purgatory; not full citizens, nor