Mayor Madden, you were asked how the Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative group feels about the final report. The reason why you didn’t hear from the Black contingent of your group is because the “reform & reinvention” process and final report harmed and traumatized the Black community leaders you tokenized throughout this process. The Black members of the PRRC’s only role in this collaborative was to appear on screen for the public conversations. There was no committee work or genuine attempt to gather input from the Black members in writing or reviewing the draft or final report.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 demands municipalities commit to progress and progressive thinking to address systemic racism and bias in their police departments. TPD Chief Brian Owens’ failure to acknowledge systemic racism in his department is a monumental issue. Troy cannot address a problem that it denies having.
There are glaring exclusions in your final PRRC report. No mention is made of systemic racism or the Black community. The fear to incorporate the language used in Executive Order 203 only furthers evidence of the city’s denial.
We demand more from Troy officials. We deserve more. We have sat and listened to our community cry, scream, and plead for their humanity. We demand the Black, brown and indigenous community be treated with dignity and respect. This report displays and acknowledges none of that.
You have Black community members sharing that they do not feel a part of this community. Is that what you want to leave as your legacy? Where there is defensiveness, we want openness to dialogue. Where there is dismissal, we want disgust at the discrimination and violence directed at Black community members. Rather than avoidance, we want you to be humbled by the vulnerable stories we shared with you.
To do this work, you must acknowledge the wisdom shared by the Black community of Troy and value our presence and participation in this city - not just be polite to us. You must commit real time to the work. It seems as if the intention of this entire process was not to do a deep dive but rather to do surface level work because that’s all you allowed time for.
It may not be comfortable but in order to do this work, in order for real change to happen, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. The recommendations in the PRRC final report showcases the work that is comfortable for city officials and is what they understand. This process should have brought about a deeper understanding as to the trauma the Black community has and is currently facing at the hands of the Troy Police Department. Trust is not given blindly, it is earned.
We conclude from this process, that we are dealing with city leaders who are not willing to do the hard work that could have led to greater success in this effort. The PRRC does not address the main concerns of the community nor does it address the main issues within the Troy Police Department. This is about our lives, our families, our children, our neighbors, our friends. OUR LIVES MATTER. We will not continue to be ignored, dismissed, or used as a sprinkle of diversity to your otherwise white, out of touch, committee. You can do better. Troy must do better.
City of Troy, you have failed, harmed and traumatized your community throughout this process. You must be held accountable. How will you attempt to mend the community you continue to divide? Your calls for “One Troy” are truly impossible if you continue to exclude the Black and brown community. We cannot be “One Troy” until you really, truly reform & reinvent policing WITH your community and FOR your community, and let your privilege, fragility and ignorance fall by the wayside. We cannot be “One Troy” until you can reflect the language set forth in EO 203, “WHEREAS, BLACK LIVES MATTER.”