The Department of Justice is in Chicago investigating the police force, in hopes of eventually developing a consent decree to help reform the local police department. Consent decrees are a useful tool, though actually effecting change after such a decree is no simple matter.
Yesterday, the DoJ took community testimony about policing in Chicago. They expected a lot of anger and a lot of discussion of racism, and they certainly got it. What I’m not sure they expected is a lot of talk about disability.
But Advance Youth Leadership Power organized an action before the event, where disabled Chicagoans first spoke outside, then they came inside and shared their experiences. Not only did the DoJ hear about disability, but I suspect many other individuals who wanted to testify gained some new perspective on the disability lens. For example:
Image: @BlackAutist holding up his flag that reads proud black autistic. #acceptus #notkillus pic.twitter.com/QxJZ6kn5Rq
— David M. Perry (@Lollardfish) July 12, 2016
I tweeted the hearing (mostly) under the hashtag #DoJChicago. I expect/hope to use that hashtag a lot over the next few months as they do their work, and we do ours.
There are two related missions.
1) Teach the disability community that they need to be concerned about police violence.
2) Teach the police reform community that they need to think about disability.
Yesterday was a good day for both efforts, thanks to the leadership of Candace Coleman and the rest of the AYLP team. Congratulations to them.