This is a moment of reckoning in Eugene. We must move beyond empty slogans and gestures, and towards lifting up, resourcing and supporting demands from Black-led organizations calling for defunding the police, investing in Black community health, education, businesses and housing. Only then can we transform safety and provide justice for all communities.
Unfortunately, the city of Eugene just manipulated a huge perpetual boost of money for cops and military equipment with last year’s tax on working people. Very bad timing on their part, but with new blood on the council soon, it’s not too late to redirect a larger share of that tax money away from the militarism in our town! If the cops were only responding to actual crimes and not harassing the homeless and people of color, someone else could help people having mental health crises and handing out parking tickets with less loss of life.
It’s time to find a new approach to policing and foreign policy that doesn’t lead with violence. It’s time to build community-based alternatives, prioritize peace-building and diplomacy, and build a society that meets all human needs. Ending the war on Blacks and other people of color includes defunding and reallocating the work of the police.
And this work to dismantle the violence-first institution of policing is intimately tied with dismantling violence-first institutions of militarism as well — to build a world of justice and safety, for everyone, everywhere.