This is Serious Business: Police Brutality
5 Key Points You Must Make When Teaching Girls About Interacting with Law Enforcement
I’m teaching. We’ve discussed the power of body language and how to project self-confidence. We have transitioned into the active part of class where we learn about proper posture when standing and sitting. They have learned that in order to become proficient at a skill they must be conscientious and take advantage of the opportunity to practice, to become better... We’ve learned how to move around objects with ease and learn how to sit in a chair gracefully. As we discuss the appropriate ways for a young Lady to get into and out of a car one of the young ladies raises her hands and ask, “Ms. Rachael what do I do if I am ever pulled over by the police…” All eyes turn to me and as I scan the room and listen to the side conversations I realize the greater importance of all my past experiences and greater purpose in my own upbringing.
The facts are I do not have any children. But I am not too far removed from their high school experience. It is a undeniable fact that Black Americans are more than twice likely to be unarmed when killed during police encounters than whites and for every 1,000 people killed by police, only one officer is convicted of a crime. It is a fact that when I look at them it is like looking in a mirror ... It is a fact that I have experienced extreme and blatant racism and systemic oppression. I have also experienced extreme kindness and compassion. On more than one occasion I can remember being pulled over by the police as a young girl with my Daddy in a small country town. I remember on more than one occasion what it was like to be pulled over by the police alone and tired; and then I remember what it was like being pulled over by the police one night – late at night trying to make it home after a long day of work and graduate school with my younger sister. It was dark, there was no safe place to pull over on the freeway and it took almost 10 minutes for us to find a safe place after we exited. I remember the range of emotions displayed by that officer that night …
My heart broke at the fear and concern that was in there eyes – the sincerity in the 100 pairs of eyes that looked backed at me said that there are problems and protest but no possible solutions being presented or taught to them should they find themselves in particular situations. “What do we do - ?” The Activist in me Roared – The Humanitarian in me wept. I became Angry because I had to have this conversation with my little sisters… with my babies.
As a caring adult what do you say to a child that you have not given birth to but deeply feel responsible? Many hands raised me and now it was my turn…
“…This is serious Business.” As silence came to the room I felt compelled to say 1st things 1st – Your primary objective is to Survive the Encounter. Survive the Encounter and Make It Home because you have a purpose that is too great… and your families, your school, your community and the world needs what you have to offer. There is nothing to fear but survive the encounter.
Immediately after one young lady spoke out and said, “I know I should keep my hands on the steering wheel.” I nodded – “Yes.” Another Young Lady then asked should I unlock the door and get out? I looked at her in the eyes and said; “No” Another young lady asked me, “What do I do if my divers license is in the back seat of the car?... What if I realize it after the Officer is at my window” Then another asked, “What if I have a weapon in the car – but I have a license to carry.” Another asked, “How am I supposed to talk to the police.”
The dialogue continued, I shared lessons that I have learned and we continued our discussion. When they seemed to be at place of peace we recapped and summarized our discussion in 5 points.
Survive The Encounter
Stay aware, take mental notes & protect yourself
Know Your Rights – We will Address any injustice
Our next class is on how to affect public policy and how to start a movement. We do ourselves and our children an injustice when we don’t prepare them for Reality. If you are not having conversations like these with your children you are not preparing or if you don’t know how get them to a program or to an adult that is willing and able to equip them with the knowledge that will protect and help them master the challenges that they will soon face. Discrimination comes in many forms and has many faces. There is vigor in solidarity. There is strength in Excellence. There is power in Love. Remember Education is a Campion in which no Future can Depress No Crime can Destroy no Enemy can Alienate and No Nepotism can Enslave.
I knew this experience had to be shared. If we can please lets keep the conversation going. List below your thoughts and resources on how we can best train and encourage our youth to navigate difficult situations.
Rachael Yvonne Davis, Act Like A Lady Think Like A Boss Co-Sponsor/Life Coach
The Act Like A Lady Think Like A Boss / Lancaster ISD Senior Debutante program provides excellent opportunities for companies to promote community goodwill. This is also a great opportunity to market to youth, their families as well as some of the most affluent and influential individuals in Dallas/Fort Worth. Between on site special events, print, digital broadcast and social media; by collaborating, the exposure for your business is priceless.
Your support, in any capacity, helps to ensure that this program continues, helps to ensure that these ladies are afforded with the resources that provide them with the best experience and also helps to ensure that their Debutante Cotillion is executed in excellence.
Do you have a youth group or a group of young ladies that need mentoring? Do you want to start your own program? Do you want to know how you can do more to enhance our communities for the better? Reach out to me - and lets collaborate
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~Rachael Yvonne Davis
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