How You Can Make a Difference in the Fight to Stop Police Brutality
Real criminal justice reform is possible, but candidates need to answer our questions to get our votes
In my column last week, I proposed that for this election, beyond simply voting, people try to affect change at the local level by voting solely on the issue of criminal justice reform. I hesitated to make such a recommendation — single-issue voting often prevents the voter from looking at a candidate’s holistic platform — but we are in unprecedented times.
My solution, the Quadrant, focuses on four municipal offices: mayor, district attorney, police chief, and judges. (Since the police chief is typically appointed rather than elected, your focus extends to whoever appoints them — generally the mayor or city/county manager.) That is where criminal justice reform begins; that is where we must exercise our power. Granted, it’s all too easy to say “vote strategically” without providing the tools and resources to make it a reality. So it’s time to do just that.
And it all starts with one simple question. When you attend a campaign event or otherwise get the chance to speak with a candidate — be it a church appearance, barbershop pop-in, or city council meeting — that conversation always needs to begin the same way:
“How do you value Black lives, and how will you prove it if elected to office?”
It’s all too easy to say “vote strategically” without providing the tools and resources to make it a reality. So it’s time to do just that.
They may try to sidestep. Depending on the environment, they may throw out an “all lives matter” platitude. Don’t let that distract you from your mission. This is going to be a conversation. Just take heed of the guiding principles and sample questions for each type of candidate as we head into election season.
The CEO of a municipality, the mayor oversees daily operations and has the power to appoint…