Black Women for Positive Change (BW4PC) is a national policy-focused network of predominately African American women and “Good Brothers” from various states here in the U.S. Its primary goals are to positively contribute to ideas and methods that can strengthen and expand the American Middle/Working class, with an emphasis on the African American community; and secondly to change the culture of violence in America. BW4PC was started by and is under the leadership of Dr. Stephanie Myers and the Honorable Daun Hester.
October 12th – 20th was the 8th Annual Week of Positive Change across the country emphasizing non-violence, justice and opportunities. Here in the Southern California area, Congresswoman Maxine Waters served as the Co-Chair. Other Los Angeles leaders included Diane Mitchell Henry, the Honorable Jan Perry and me. Our goal is to find positive ways to express oneself, especially for our youth. With the current climate in our world today, non-violence and justice are difficult topics. With police shootings still occurring against African Americans and negative race relations, the question becomes what can we do to make a positive change and provide hope?
We are aware of the Dallas police officer Amber Guyger who shot and killed Botham Jean when she claimed to mistake his apartment for hers, thinking he was an intruder. More recently, Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black pre-med graduate was killed inside her own home when a white cop shot her through her window. The cop never identified himself and Ms. Jefferson’s nephew saw her murdered in cold blood. Although the police officer resigned and has been charged with murder, the community is still looking for answers and is seeking justice in the form of “vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing.” When, and more importantly, how does all this unnecessary violence stop?
During this current administration, there has been a rise in shootings and various hate crimes. Rhetoric from the top has influenced people and has incited violence. The term “Make America Great Again” means for some, “make America white again.” We must reach an understanding that America is a diverse nation with people from across the globe. At one time or another we all either came here for a better life or were forced (slavery) here to help make this country a better place. Just about all our ancestors (except for the Native Americans) came from somewhere else in pursuit of opportunities. We must learn to live together with mutual understanding and respect for our differences.
I believe in order to make positive change, decrease violence, and provide opportunities for everyone, there must be a paradigm shift. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” In order to make this shift, there needs to be more training around diversity and inclusion. We also must mandate “Sensitivity Training” for all public servants (police, fire, EMT, politicians and everyone who interfaces directly with the public). It wouldn’t be a bad idea if all businesses mandated sensitivity training to help make the workplace a better environment. What are you willing to do to help promote a culture of nonviolence and justice for all?
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