With over 80,000 signatures to our petition for the termination of their government authority, officers Cory Campbell, Jason Bellavance, and Joseph Corrow remain employed by the Burlington Police Department.
In May of 2019, we began asking our community to “think twice” before calling or engaging the cops. Since then, we have been building towards the explicit launch of our Think Twice Campaign.
Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington’s vision is to see the greater Burlington area transformed into a place where all Black people thrive bodily, socially, and economically. Grounded by this vision and the lived realities of poor Black folx in our community, we demand the following of power in the Greater Burlington area:
The institution of policing was created by racial capitalism in order to protect profit. Not to serve and protect people. Calling the police to solve issues created or made worse by poverty, racism, and other patterns of violence and trauma does not work because policing and incarceration feed these very cycles of harm. Police violence in the community can be reduced by not inviting police into situations that require de-escalation, first-aid, trauma-informed problem solving, or community engagement. Policing is inherently violent and we will not achieve collective liberation or healing by reforming a system rooted in oppression. Police are not an appropriate resource in schools, social work, or community building. The journey to their abolition is long overdue and should be nothing less than intentional, swift, and fully supported by all institutions that consider themselves invested in the well-being of our communities.
Many institutions exist to support populations police often target. These institutions have a responsibility to refrain from calling the police. We DEMAND the Howard Center (including First Call), COTS, ANEW Place, and Spectrum Youth and Family Services terminate all relationships with law enforcement, including no longer having social service assessments of any kind occur at police stations.
Our collective resources should be put into building our culturally conscious skills to take care of each other, rather than expecting a historically dangerous force to support our safety. We DEMAND our cities & towns provide the public with access to free first aid training that is not done by the cops.
Visitors and residents in our communities, with or without housing, should not have to spend money in order to simply use the bathroom without concern of intimidation or criminalization. We DEMAND public & accessible 24/7 bathrooms on Church Street.
The detainment of our community members who have committed “crimes” related to their poverty and survival is unjust and must come to an urgent end. Putting people in prison does not stop them from facing the abuses of our society; it produces and inflicts further abuse. We must stop seeing prison as a place to “put” the problems of poverty out of sight so that we do not have to confront them. This begins by removing the criminalization of occupying public spaces. Things such as loitering, panhandling, soliciting, camping, sleeping, and public urination and defecation do not cause harm to the wellbeing of our community. These things are fruits of a sick society, not of dispensable people. WE DEMAND the decriminalization of all non–violent “crimes” and cutting current sentences for all crimes in half.
Investing in services that actually serve our community’s safety and connection should in no ways be connected to systems that endanger our community. We DEMAND public health services (like fire and rescue) be funded separately from Police Departments. WE DEMAND the removal of cops from all community organization boards. WE DEMAND no non–police city or public meetings be held at the police stations.
As we continue the work of abolishing the institution of policing, it is critical that our community members have easy access to complaints filed against officers without having to waste unnecessary resources. Community members also deserve to know what information this institution is collecting and maintaining on them. WE DEMAND ensured public access to all data collected by police departments free of charge.
Our youth are dangerously conditioned to interact with police under false pretenses, long before they learn the true history of policing and its generational impact on our communities. For many Black & brown students, the presence of police on their school campuses puts them on a fast track to entering directly into the school to prison pipeline. WE DEMAND no more police workshops or visits to schools and the immediate removal of all School Resource Officers.
Our community funds are better spent investing in the health, more accurate knowledge of history, and literacy of our community, rather than in our control and dehumanization. We DEMAND diverting 80% of funds from police departments to permanently end homelessness and provide educational funding for:
- free school breakfasts & lunches
- technological infrastructure, and
- the transition to proficiency based grading, lower class sizes, and decolonized education.
To get involved & stay informed, visit: http://blmcollective.org/