This year, as the historic mass uprising for Black Liberation commands national attention, the occasion of Juneteenth assumes a particularly momentous significance. As we honor the determination, sacrifice, and vision set forth by Black freedom fighters of generations past, we are also mindful of the tremendous work that lies ahead in the struggle for true emancipation from the tyranny of white supremacy.
For nearly a decade, WCRJ and CRGE have invited local community members impacted by racialized police violence to come together and collectively reimagine what real public safety could look like in our own neighborhoods, on our own terms. These powerful conversations have served as the foundation for WCRJ's Safety and Liberation platform, through which we aim to amplify grassroots demands to end anti-Black police brutality and reinvest public resources in systems that foster universal equity and justice.
WCRJ’s platform for Safety and Liberation advocates the following state and city level policies:
Withdraw taxpayer funding from the Chicago Police Department and equitably invest in more effective public safety services. Significantly scale back operational spending on local law enforcement and reduce the police force commensurately. Replace dispatch officers with on-call city professionals - including social workers, mental health providers, human services employees, and mediators - who are better equipped to address public safety emergencies. Abolish private policing agencies.
Prohibit police unions from engaging in any collective bargaining activities outside of wage and benefit negotiations. Police union contracts have historically shielded officers from accountability for their actions, even in cases of racialized harassment, brutality, and murder. Such agreements serve as a driving force of police violence, by emboldening officers to exceed the limits of their power with the explicit assurance of impunity.
Establish a democratically elected police board to govern the Chicago Police Department. This entity will hold the exclusive authority to hire senior officers, investigate reports of police misconduct, discipline and terminate officers who are found guilty of wrongdoing, and determine department budgets and rules.