Like many cities across the country, San Jose starts 2015 on the heels of a march and rally that echoed the national call for police accountability. We belted chants and held up signs with the names of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.
But calling this event an act of solidarity is not quite accurate. Rather, the march was an act of “familiarity” and a morbid binding of reality that we, too, can speak the names of the deceased who once walked our streets, went to our schools, attended our churches and whose lives were unjustly cut short by a bullet fired from an officer’s gun.
While our event – the “Protect Your People March” – ended at the police department as others across the country have, we started at the district attorney’s office. We made it a point to march within earshot of the windows of our county jail because police are not isolated agents of the state. Rather, they are part of a “criminal justice system” that includes prosecutors, jails, judges and courts.
We picked our march route to make a physical connection showing how the same system that time and again refuses to hold officers accountable for the killing of innocents, is the same one that incarcerates more than 2 million Americans. People of color are disproportionately represented in that number.
The same injustice that allowed the officers who killed Mike Brown and Eric Garner to not be prosecuted, is the same bias that is being used to over prosecute communities of color at a dizzying clip. It is why our march focused on two words that will hopefully become part of this movement’s lexicon moving forward – prosecutorial discretion. Continue reading