We’ve seen it all before.
Like summer reruns of a bad TV series, we know the plot line as if we were in the writer’s room. A viral internet video captures images of an unarmed Black man being shot in the street by police.
Outrage ensues, local law enforcement says, “Wait for all the facts to come out,” social media erupts with anger from the left and platitudes from the right, and the officer is placed on “administrative leave.”
So, the problem persists, and even though Texas has been spared some of the more intense protests, the situation is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. It’s not a matter of if, but rather when. According to statistics compiled by The Washington Post, Texas is one of the worst offenders in this phenomenon.
Since January 2015, 496 suspects in Texas have died by a police officer’s hand. Only California ranks higher with 827 fatalities, with all 50 states registering at least a few such deaths. So, why has Texas been spared the wrath of protests like we’ve seen in Portland and Kenosha? The lack of video footage of these incidents is the only element that is different from the high-profile cases.
It can happen here, and if and when it does, we are not prepared. We are not ready for the pain. We are not ready for the protests. We are not ready for our community to be overwhelmed by the attention and the scrutiny. We are not ready to manage the situation in a way that could prevent further harm to people and property.
That’s why it’s imperative that we take action now to create a means by which we can manage the incident to reduce harm and create a sense of transparency and accountability. I am inviting every stakeholder in my home Congressional District 14 to join me in sitting down at the table not to have another “conversation,” but rather, to craft an action plan on changing the hard reality we face today.
I’m calling on elected officials from both sides of the aisle, protesters, activists, law enforcement, pastors and community leaders from every corner of our district to confront the crisis in front of us with real solutions for our community.
We’ve seen the scenes in Portland, Kenosha, and Minneapolis, and we must be relentless in our pursuit to prevent those scenes from taking place in our community. All that’s left is action. We must be united in one idea and one purpose: That it cannot be allowed to happen here.
We must be emboldened by the knowledge that it is within our hands to find solutions, to find common ground and to find the only vaccine available to heal our culture — hope.