From “What To Do Instead of Calling the Police,” a living document (last updated July 15, 2018) compiled by Aaron Rose.
We’ve all been there. Your neighbor is setting off fireworks at 3am. Or there’s a couple fighting outside your window and it’s getting physical. Or you see someone hit their child in public. What do you do? Your first instinct might be: call 911. That’s what many people are trained to do in the United States when we see something dangerous or threatening happening.
At this point, most of us understand that, in the U.S., the police often reinforce a system of racialized violence and white supremacy, in which black people are at least three times more likely to be killed by the police. For years now, we’ve heard the nearly daily news of another unarmed person of color being shot by the police. When the police get involved, black people, Latinx people, Native Americans, people of color, LGBTQ people, sex workers, women, undocumented immigrants, and people living with disabilities and mental health diagnoses are usually in more danger, even if they are the victims of the crime being reported. Police frequently violently escalate peaceful interactions, often without repercussions. In 2017, the police killed over 1,100 people in the U.S.
So what do you do? When you see harm being done, when you worry for your safety, when you feel your rights are being violated? What do you do instead of calling the police? How do you keep yourself safe without seeking protection from a system whose default is still surveillance and erasure of others?
We start by shifting our perspective. We start by learning about the racist history of the police. We start by saying, an alternative to this system should exist. We start by pausing before we dial 911. We start by making different choices where we can. We start by getting to know our neighbors and asking them to be a part of this process…
A FEW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Who is this document for? This document is for anyone who wants to build a world where we have safe, strong communities. Where we know and trust our neighbors. Where our response to emergencies of all kinds leads to peace and connection rather than escalated violence and disconnection. This document was originally written to expand white people’s understanding of police violence and to equip them with the tools to be better community members, and the best practices and guiding questions reflect that. However, the resources and tools are here for people of all races and backgrounds.
Who are you? I’m Aaron Rose: a white, middle-class, life-long New Yorker and south Brooklynite. I’m a gay, queer, transgender man. I’m an educator, a writer, and a diversity & inclusion consultant and coach. I help build cultures where people of all identities can thrive as themselves and collaborate together.
How can I recommend an edit, report a broken link, contribute a resource, or share my perspective? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome any and all feedback given in service of building a safer world.
Check out the full document HERE.