We didn't get here overnight, we won't get out of here overnight.
Houston Justice meets 7:00 PM every first Thursday at Kaffeine Coffee 5225 Almeda, Houston, Texas 77004
Here's where we'll start:
ADOPTING THE MIKE BROWN LAW IN HOUSTON
After the killing of Mike Brown, 18, an unarmed young Black man in August of 2014 by Darren Wilson a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, his mother and father are advocating for passage of a nationwide law they call the "Mike Brown Law" which would sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera. Here's a link to the online White House petition. The day after hundreds of Houstonians took to the streets of Third Ward in solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland announced his support of the measure. (Click here for the story.) With Houston facing a gap in excess of $142 million for the 2016 fiscal year (Click here for the Houston Chronicle article) we know this implementation will be an uphill battle.
How we'll do it:
Join us as we work towards passage of a resolution that includes commitment from the Mayor and city council to allocate funds for the the Mike Brown Law in the 2016 fiscal year and beyond. We'll gather support amongst ourselves, allies and other community leaders before we take this to city hall for passage. (CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION)
REFORMING HPD's CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD
The City of Houston's Independent Police Oversight Board (IPOB) is a 29 member board appointed by the mayor. (Click here for a description of Houston's IPOB). We feel the IPOB should review ALL complaints to internal affairs. If not, we have a system similar to the one that failed to indict Darren Wilson in Ferguson. Simply put: the police shouldn't investigate themselves, we need outside eyes on internal affairs complaints.
How we'll do it:
Join us as we shape our vision of the IPOB, find supportive elected allies in the community, research successful versions of citizen's review boards across the nation and create the proposed policy we want to see passed at city hall and plant the seeds of change here in Houston.
STOP CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR SCHOOL OFFENSES
Over 80% of HISD's enrollment is economically disadvantaged according. this means more than 8 out of 10 students qualify for free or reduced lunch while .In a recent study, USA TODAYfound 1,600 places where the disparity in arrest rates between blacks and whites is more pronounced than in Ferguson. Texas has over 50 of them according to burntorangereport.com (link here). When it comes to criminal charges for infractions like truancy and the like, african-american males are more likely to be sent down the pipeline to prison. Furthermore, when it comes to 4th graders, 83% of african american males can't read at grade level according to a study by the american leadership study. IT'S CLEAR WE MUST PREPARE A DIFFERENT PATH FOR OUR YOUTH THAT IS FILLED WITH OPPORTUNITY FOR SUCCESS.
ELECTED OFFICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT
While hundreds of Houstonians joined together in solidarity the evening after it was announced Darren Wilson, Mike Brown's murderer, was not going to even face a trial, many Black elected leaders were absent at the rally and silent on the issue. Looking back at attacks on our community like Houston ISD's attempt to close five schools, many were silent. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in the past: "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." We not only need vocal leaders to denounce injustice at rallies and protests, we need elected leaders who stand up for us, use the power of their office to strengthen their communities and serve the people who elected them. We will work with those elected officials who are working toward progress and replace those whose bright star shines no more. We will replace them, if necessary, with leaders from the community we can relate to. We can't be in the trenches fighting for after school programs street lights while some electeds fight for hike-and-bike trails and preservation projects.
How we'll do it:
A committee from our community will research our current elected leaders' legislative agenda for the past two years, measure their accessibility, and rate them accordingly. We will find manpower and organize with those working for us and work against those who are holding up progress. The committee meets monthly at (Kaffeine Coffee, 5225 Almeda Rd.) where notes are given on previous city council/state legislature meetings of interest to the Houston Justice Coalition. By keeping track of movement in the halls of government, we benefit by having the ability to share that information with our community and track the progress of our projects.