Is it possible to reform broken systems? On April 26, a group of artists, organizers, and community activists met at the Silent Barn to have a conversation about the crisis of police brutality and to raise money for the family of Akai Gurley, who was killed this past fall by an on-duty officer.
Panelists included hip hop artist and community leader Ty Black (Justice for Akai Gurley, Justice for Tanaya Copeland), poet and organizer Camonghne Felix (POC for Solvency, Dosomething.org), public policy advocate Robert Gangi (Police Reform Organizing Project), Council Member Antonio Reynoso (District 34), and writer Greg Tate (Black Rock Coalition, formerly Village Voice). The panel was moderated by musician and organizer Tres Myers (North West Bushwick community group, Educated Little Monsters).
The panel, titled “A Primer on Police Brutality, Systemic Racism, and What You Can Do About It” started off discussing music, specifically hip hop’s responses to police brutality (including Kendrick Lamar’s controversial “hypocrite” verse on “The Blacker the Berry”), but the majority of the conversation delved into systemic problems with the institution of policing as it exists today. Panelists discussed economic incentives for overpolicing, the inherent racism of broken windows policing, the militarization of police, police accountability, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s proposed initiative to add 1,000 new cops to the force.
The livestream is archived in full and streaming below. Those who couldn’t make it to the panel but still wish to donate can do so here.