IIn June 1946, Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which ELEANOR ROOSEVELT was United Nations Chair of its Drafting Committee, is the RIGHT TO EQUALITY and Article 2 FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION.
On December 2, 2014 citizens of Phoenix, Arizona,
were demanding these rights be addressed in an officer-involved shooting that
resulted in the death of unarmed citizen RUMAIN BRISBON. A national
spotlight shown on the investigation and the civil suit brought by his family. The
results of a $1.5 million settlement concluded that either the PHOENIX POLICE
DEPARTMENT (PPD) failed to train OFFICER (now SERGEANT) MARK RINE or the
officer failed to understand his training.
In April 2015, PEOPLE DEMANDING JUSTICE COMMUNITY
COALITION (PDJCC) began their dialogue regarding reform with the
administration of the PPD, in particular with now EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT CHIEF
MIKE KURTENBACH and now ASSISTANT CHIEF SEAN CONNOLLY.
The document, “TEN SOLUTIONS TO BUILD TRUST IN OUR CITY,”
laid the foundation for new policies and procedures and continues to this day to
work in alignment with the basic directive of the PPD, “to honor the
sanctity of life.” All solutions have been addressed, but not all have been
Since November 2017 CITIZEN PETITIONS have
been submitted by PDJCC Coordinator Joanne Scott Woods requesting further
commitment from the PPD, the MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL and the CITY MANAGER and
they have, as required by City Charter, responded to the asks of the Petitions
within two weeks.
Completed in the Summer of 2019, the two most recent PDJCC
Citizen Petitions are the DECLARATION to ESTABLISH RACIAL HEALING CIRCLES
as a means “to jettison the belief in racial hierarchy” in order to create a
new narrative of trust between the police and the community on behalf of the
children of our city, completed on July 26, 2019, and the second, completed on
August 26, 2019, is the DECLARATION for ARIZONA’S NATIONAL DAY OF RACIAL
HEALING (NDORH) 2020 – “A Bridge to Hope.”. Both have been sent to the
Mayor and Council, the City Manager, and the PPD and will be submitted at a
Formal City Council Meeting in October 2019. The Declaration has also been sent
to the mayors of all cities and towns in Arizona with plans to include a State Proclamation. An Endorsement Campaign across America will begin in October through a Google Document Sign-On Form to be sent to strategically invested organizations and companies, the results of which be forwarded to mayors of Arizona and the State of Arizona.
In 2020 we began to focus annually on the KEY SOLUTION TO TRUST – building the COMMUNAL CAPACITY TO CARE – through the “HowWeHeal BOOK CLUB at Barnes & Noble Metrocenter on 2nd Tuesdays, February through November, from 6 to 7 PM (Book Selection: “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Menakem), through a 2020 RACIAL HEALING CAMPAIGN and by celebrating annually A DAY OF RACIAL HEALING on the Tuesday following MLK Day – proclaimed by Mayor Kate Gallego and presented as a House Bill by State Representative Reginald Bolding – submitted under the leadership of the Committee for a Day of Racial Healing in Arizona of the PDJCC, Joanne Scott Woods and Kim Baker.