All Minneapolitans deserve to have a say in what safety in our community looks like. On Aug. 5, the Charter Commission voted to keep the amendment to remove the Minneapolis Police Department from our city charter off the ballot. The people of Minneapolis have been demanding new approaches to public safety, and it is imperative that we work together to get this done.
In “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that when the white moderate says “wait,” it almost always means “never.” The Charter Commission said “wait,” but we must make sure that this doesn’t mean “never.” As a white teacher in Minneapolis, I have seen many fellow white progressive teachers talk about change but not take actions necessary to dismantle institutionalized racism in our schools. We cannot allow the same facade of change that perpetuates violence toward Black, Indigenous and people of color in our schools or from police.
Our City Council must take this time to authentically listen, especially to our Black leaders, as we work to ensure that this delay does not impede our ultimate goal of creating more just and equitable public safety systems driven by the vision of communities most impacted by injustice. We are ready for change and must come together to guarantee that we amend the charter in 2021 and create community-based public safety solutions.
In his letter, Dr. King goes on to reiterate that “justice too long delayed is justice denied” and though justice has been delayed by the Charter Commission, we refuse to be denied.