Sometimes change starts with a conversation…
My friend Krista and I had the opportunity to sit down with Hermosa Chief of Police Paul Lebaron. We wanted to connect with the heart of our local police department and express our concerns about police brutality and systemic racism running rampant throughout the US. I really appreciated that he took out the time to meet with us and listen to our concerns.
I opened up to him about my personal experiences of judgement and bias based on nothing but the color of my skin. I expressed to him my concern for my black relatives and friends coming to visit and being met with discrimination and racial profiling. No matter how far I’ve come in life…I still am the product of slaves that faced overt racism, oppression, and were made to feel less than human.
Even though we’ve come a long way..we still have a long way to go in tackling systemic racism & equity for the black community and other minorities.
Krista talked about her experiences as a white woman wanting to effect change within the black community, and hardships she’s faced because of her son facing judgement and discrimination based on his autism.
Paul Lebaron served as a Chief of Police in Long Beach for over 20 years before taking on the recent role as Chief in Hermosa.
He talked about the new policies being adopted in the force such as banning not only chokeholds and strangleholds, but also carotid control holds. Enforcement of de-escalation techniques and use of specialized safe & humane restraint equipment.
He talked about his experiences living in South America and experiencing racial profiling and unjust treatment because he was a minority. We also talked about recruiting more black and minority officers into the Hermosa Department promoting equity and inclusion.
Why don’t we go further than our school history books and dig deeper to have a fuller understanding of our countries roots..the good and the ugly? Maybe this can help all of us develop more empathy and understanding that this fight is not only a personal fight, but a generational fight.
Let’s expose our children to black and minority world shapers through kids books and documentaries.
Let’s go out of our way to make black people and minorities welcome in our community.
Let’s urge our children to go out of their way to include their peers on the sidelines that feel like they don’t fit in with the majority.
Let’s call out our friends or associates loud and clear whenever they make a racist comment or joke. Let’s also take the necessary steps in our work place to report any form of racially motivated statements or aggressions.
Let’s have open conversations about race and ways to promote understanding, empathy, and change within ourselves and outside of ourselves.
Let’s go out of our way to support black owned and minority businesses to ensure that they feel supported and have a winning chance to advance.
Let’s stand up and march with our fellow brothers and sisters that are hurting and using their voice to fight for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Let’s vote for city officials, representatives, and Presidents who represent an America for all, not an America for one.
Let’s build a community based on inclusion for all…liberty & justice for all…a piece of the American pie for all.
Let’s live by the wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The time is always right to do what is right.”