Black people are angry

The Dallas Examiner | 12/7/2014, 8:36 p.m.
There have been protests all over the United States from the West Coast to the East Coast
Mollie Finch Belt, publisher of The Dallas Examiner

The Dallas Examiner

There have been protests all over the United States from the West Coast to the East Coast. Not only Black people have protested but other races have marched along with them in their outcry of the failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Furthermore, people in approximately 30 cities across the nation have walked out of their jobs and schools during the “Hands up, Walk out” protest, according to reports on Monday. Professional football players have entered their game on Sunday with their hands raised as many have done during “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” protests, symbolic of Brown raising his hands as he was being shot.

Though everybody protesting doesn’t know Brown, he has become the face of police shootings – which seems to be a pattern throughout the U.S. when police officers are face-to-face with African American men, though there have been reported incidents of police overreacting to situations where African American women are involved, as well.

Many don’t know how to channel their frustration and hurt with the legal system that has been broken for far too long. What do we have to do to make the system work?

In Dallas, we have had several town hall meetings at churches to conduct conversations on police shootings. The first meeting was at St. Paul United Methodist Church. It was a very heated meeting because it probably was the first time victims had an opportunity to face Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Dallas Police Chief David Brown – and they wanted answers. Answers could not be given at this meeting so it was more of a forum for venting frustrations. People demanded to know why committees that had been established aren’t working.

However, at the next town hall meeting held at Friendship West Baptist Church, the district attorney, sheriff and police chief had answers. They ensured that someone from their respective offices met with the victims and obtained additional information so they could assist them at a later date.

Mothers Against Police Brutality has held meetings and rallies to spread awareness, seek answers and demand justice in Dallas. On Juneteenth, the group brought in Dr. Cornel West to spotlight incidents of shooting unarmed men. It also later presented “Voices of Grief and Struggle,” where speakers talked about family members and shared their stories of police shootings and brutality. Planners of the meetings hoped they would serve to heal those who had not had closure.

Open conversations are good, but we have to start taking positive steps toward a resolution. The committees established have to work. In order to work, they have to have the right people at the table who have the authority to make change.

There is no trust of the judicial system in the Black community. There is a distrust of police departments. Polls indicate that Whites trust the police, but Blacks do not. There is a long history of police brutality in the Black community. Many African Americans consider the term “protect and serve” to be about protecting “them” from “us.”