Project: Part 2: Putting Social Advocacy Skills into Action
Project: Part 2: Putting Social Advocacy Skills into Action
Brief Synopsis of Week 3’s Social Problem
In week 3, we looked at the social problem of the mistreatment of prisoners by the correctional services by denying the prisoners a right to adequate medical services. This was found to be a direct violation of the 8th Amendment of the constitution of the USA. I advocated for the observation for the 8th Amendment, and those prisoners, despite being law offenders, deserve to be given access to healthcare services and counseling services to maintain optimal mental health. The dehumanization of incarcerated human beings is wrong.
Social Problem: Targeted Policing of Black Citizens in America
As a social advocate, it is tough to ignore the elephant of all social problems that plague the country’s social-political atmosphere: i.e., the targeted policing (and killing) of black citizens by racist police officers. This is a problem that has led to multiple protests in recent years, with the mother of all demonstrations happening in 2020. The rally of the killing of George Floydon on the 25th of May 2020 and sparked nationwide protests that started in Minneapolis and spread through several cities. Around 20 million people from various racial groups joined the demonstrations, culminating in widespread violence, looting, and property destruction. This was one of the largest movements in United States history (The New York Times, 2020).
The targeted policing and killing of black citizens has led to the Black Lives Matter Movement’s formation. The Black Lives Matter is a socio-political activist movement that advocates for the cessation of racially-charged police brutality against black people (people of African-American descent) in the United States of America. There has been a longstanding tradition of police officers (usually of Caucasian descent) unjustly harassing, arresting, and shooting largely innocent and cooperating black citizens, mostly black men (Roberts, 2018).
History of the Black Lives Matter Movement
The Black Lives Matter Movement started in July 2013 as an online hashtag (#BlackLivesMatter) in protest of the seemingly unfair acquittal of George Zimmerman, a white man, who had allegedly shot and killed Trayvon Martin ( a black American teen ) back in February 2012 (Roberts, 2018).
The movement gained nationwide recognition in the USA in 2014 for the planning of street demonstrations that protested the unjust killing of two black Americans; (Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri) and Eric Garner (in New York City). From then on, the Black Lives Matter has been involved in multiple demonstrations against police brutality incidents against black people (Luibrand, 2015).
My Plan for Social Advocacy
As a social advocate, I would use my expertise and position to push for reforms to prevent the targeted policing and killing of black people by racist police officers. These reforms will involve both the legislature and the judiciary to develop effective laws that will ensure swift prosecution, arrest, and dismissal of police officers who use their positions to harass, arrest or even shoot innocent black people unjustly.
My first step towards effecting reforms will be to gather the Black Lives Matter Movement’s various prominent leaders and formalize the activist movement by giving it a clear leadership hierarchy. I would collaborate with this new leadership framework in tabling motions in Congress that align towards the cessation of unjust police killings and prosecutions. I would also develop a social media presence to rally the public’s support on the various motions. A worthy goal would be to present some Black Lives Matter de-facto leaders as excellent candidates for different political positions. Getting any of them elected into public office will be a significant step towards ensuring that the necessary reforms are affected since it is easier to effect change as a government insider than a random street protester.
I also would seek greater collaboration with the already established 20/20 club. The 20/20 club is a group consisting of 20 Democratic politicians and 20 republican politicians and police officials, and officials of other organizations sympathetic to the cause of the Black Lives Matter movement (Greenblatt, 2016). Collaboration with the 20/20 club will ensure quick steps towards reform and increase the representation of black citizens’ plight at the highest levels of the federal government.
How My Efforts Will Address the Problem
Through my collaboration with other activist groups and individuals, I would be able to effect long-needed reforms such as cutting of police budgets (to disable overzealous police from exerting excessive force on citizens), demilitarizing of police (i.e., formally removing police access to military-grade weapons and vehicles), the prohibition of targeted policing practices (such as the community protecting way where law enforcement officers over-police organizations with low socioeconomic status which are predominantly African-American and Latino communities), as well as the removal of police protection privileges offered by the police unions and the state such as qualified immunity which protects police officers from being prosecuted for their actions while working. Qualified immunity is the reason why the shooters of Breonna Taylor have never been prosecuted (GovTrack.us, 2020).
Impact of Continued Advocacy
Continued advocacy over the long term is necessary to keep the social issues being advocated for in the government’s focus and the public. This is due to the impermanence of the socio-political environment; hence due to regular government changes, there might be new leaders who are unaware of some of the social issues that were previously advocated for. Therefore it is prudent for the social advocate to maintain continued advocacy over the long run to ensure the social problem(s) is being progressively tackled by each subsequent government (Community Tool Box).
Community Tool Box. (n.a.). Section 20. Advocacy over and for the long term. From https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/advocacy/direct-action/long-term-advocacy/main
GovTrack.us.(2020).What Congress can do to implement Black Lives Matter protesters’ demands.GovTrack Insider. From https://govtrackinsider.com/what-congress-can-do-to-implement-black-lives-matter-protesters-demands-96107f5a3b31
Greenblatt. A. (2016). Turning Black Lives Matter protests into policy. Governing. From https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-black-lives-matter-protests.html
Luibrand. S. (2015). 3BlackLivesMatter: How the events in Ferguson sparked a movement in America. CBS News. From https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-the-black-lives-matter-movement-changed-america-one-year-later/
Roberts, F. (2018). How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom. American Civil Liberties Union. From https://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/how-black-lives-matter-changed-way-americans-fight
The New York Times. (2020). Protests Swell in U.S. and Beyond as George Floyd Is Mourned Near His Birthplace. Race and Policing. From https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/06/us/protests-today-police-george-floyd.html