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Bringing Racist Policing to It’s Knees in Cleveland

Not sure why the Republicans chose to have their convention in Cleveland – but with the atmosphre created by their current candidate it’s going to be one hell of a mess.

In the meantime, in the city whose police murdered Tamir Rice and got away with it…There is change afoot.

The Preacher Who Took on the Police

Cop shootings have torn apart Cleveland. Jawanza Colvin says the way to heal the city is to root out racism from the legal system.

CLEVELAND — One night in February, a black preacher put the prosecutors on trial.

It had been two months since the prosecutor’s office in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County persuaded a grand jury not to indict a white police officer who had shot and killed Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy, in a city park.

Now the prosecutor was running for reelection, and with the primary a month away, the Rev. Jawanza Karriem Lightfoot Colvin saw an opportunity to indict a judicial system that he had come to believe was rigged against black people. He and the activist group he co-founded summoned the two candidates—embattled county prosecutor Tim McGinty and challenger Mike O’Malley—to a forum at a synagogue in a Cleveland suburb.

There, Colvin thundered like judge, jury and executioner: “If you were young, poor, a minority of color, or one who lived in the city, you were profiled, arrested, charged, indicted, convicted and sentenced at an alarming, disproportionate level.” His preacher’s cadence brought the crowd of 1,000 at the Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple to its feet—black and white, Jewish and Christian.

“We want action now! We want change now! We want reform now!” Colvin proclaimed. “Not next year, not next election! Not ’til the next death, the next tragedy, the next trial, the next press conference! We want it now!”

He had to wait just four weeks. McGinty lost the primary on March 15, all but assuring O’Malley of election in November. The vote further raised the local profile of a young religious leader who has vaulted to prominence in the wake of the Tamir Rice case. Some in this key city in a crucial swing state see what he has accomplished on an issue that has embroiled the entire country and predict that it might propel Colvin onto the national political stage.

Colvin, 41, is the pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, a large and storied African-American congregation in Cleveland, and he has taken a very different and far more aggressive approach to activism than older black ministers from the civil-rights generation. As co-founder of Greater Cleveland Congregations, a five-year-old community organizing group, Colvin has built alliances across majority-white Cuyahoga County on social justice issues. After Rice’s death and a damning report from the U.S. Justice Department, Colvin stood nearly alone among the city’s politically involved black ministers in challenging Frank Jackson, Cleveland’s popular African-American mayor, and publicly pressuring City Hall for changes in how Cleveland is policed.

“I would’ve liked to see bolder leadership,” Colvin says. “I think we undershot what true change looks like.”

When the 2,472 delegates, 15,000 media and 30,000 assorted other dignitaries, lobbyists and staff arrive next month for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, they’ll be greeted by untold numbers of protesters. The Rev. Colvin, who plans to join two marches on the first day, will be at the center of the action, pushing an agenda of judicial reform that is gaining more national attention, even acceptance in conservative circles. But conventiongoers should expect to be challenged, even shocked, by Colvin’s message.

“The criminal justice system,” Colvin says, “in many respects, has replaced slavery.”…Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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