Good News Stories From Communities of Color
The Youngest & First Person of Color has Just Been Elected to Des Moines City Council On A “Defund the Police Platform”.
The trial of Gregory and Travis McMichaels, the white men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, while he was on his morning jog is soon to begin.
While the case seems cut and dry to nearly anyone who looks at it, this is the United States of America. Our criminal justice system is built to fail Ahmaud. It is built to give men like the McMichaels and William ‘Roddie’ Bryan every advantage possible. It is built to protect white men while ensuring marginalized groups remain marginalized.
I feel this is one of the most important civil rights cases of my generation - and I am less than hopeful about the outcome. I can’t help it. I was ten years old when I watched this country fail Trayvon Martin by setting his killer, George Zimerman, free. I was twelve years old when they set the killer of Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehmann, free. I was seventeen years old when they set the killer of Eric Garner, Daniel Pantaleo free.
While I struggle to hope for the justice Ahmaud and his family so deeply deserve, I felt now was as good a time as ever to share some good news stories from our communities of color.
We have to stay encouraged if we want to keep fighting to change this country.
27-year-old Indira Sheumaker has Become the Youngest and First-person of Color to Win a Seat on the Des Moines City Council - a Landmark Achievement.
Sheumaker ran on a platform based largely on her years of experience as an activist - vowing to fight to defund the police and decriminalize marijuana in the increasingly Republican-controlled city. Despite having no previous experience in office, Sheumaker overcame incumbent Bill Gray and earned 46% of the city's vote.
“We’d been talked down to a lot by people saying, ‘You can’t win on defund’ — we said let’s see if that’s true,” Sheumaker said in an interview, “We won on defund because people were inspired by our message, they wanted somebody who wasn’t afraid...We ran saying we wanted to make Des Moines safer, and that is the message of defund.”
Black Lives Matter-inspired policies like defunding the police are becoming more and more relevant in elections across the country. From schools boards to city councils, to the presidential election - neutrality on the intersection of race and police brutality is no longer acceptable. Politicians are being forced to take a stance, even when it means losing their seats.
This was evident in Minneapolis. The four city council members who backed replacing the police with trained emergency responders, something many cities have successfully implemented, lost their seats on the council.
That’s the risk that comes with standing on the right side of history - it is not always met with public support. It is up to us, the voting public, to keep a close eye on these local elections to ensure more women like India Sheumaker make history.
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