My son’s friend Andrew Riebe wrote a poem and posted in on Instagram. He’s also a rising high school sophomore. He writes, “Just a poem I decided to write today regarding the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police department cop who spent 8 minutes crushing George’s neck with his knee. This poem also regards police brutality as a whole.” Then he says, “How long are we going to keep letting this happen? Stand up and do something about it. Do what you can. Don’t just say that’s sad and stand by.”
And it was this message that made me decide to attend my first march.
At the Line Up for Black Lives march, I ran into the Newton Mayor, Ruthanne Fuller, and asked her why the Newton police force is all white and all male. Apparently, the Newton police force is unable to recruit POC. I offered advice on how to recruit successfully and she offered to meet with me to “learn from me.” I share my advice here.
I posted on my microblog, ILoveNewton.com, and then asked people to write to the mayor and the Newton police chief about why aren’t there any POC on the police force. It was my experience from a Black male friend of mine who visited me that the Newton police force racially profile.
And, it turns out, he wasn’t the only person they targeted. Tim Duncan, a former assistant athletic director at Northeastern University claimed he was racially profiled by police at the Newton Whole Foods parking lot.
The mayor pulled $200,000 out of the police budget to commission a study on the Newton police department. Shortly afterward, the Newton police chief resigned.
My point is that one person, even a child, can make a difference. And we all work together, we can create the change we seek.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.