“Accountability doesn't equal punishment, it's the process of establishing and maintaining right relationships with community.”
To have a future without police, we must practice community accountability in which we don’t call armed enforcers who incarcerate to deal with our conflicts and problems.
The majority of police calls are not for violent crimes, but more mundane disputes of people with nowhere else to turn.
The police never deal with injustices created by white supremacy and structural power - in fact, they enact those injustices everyday.
In order to practice a different way of community accountability, in late 2020, Defund the GRPD joined with the Grand Rapids Area Tenant Union and Justice for Black Lives to host the “Worst of Grand Rapids 2020 Awards.”
Grand Rapids is good at making "Best Of" lists. Yet we don't talk enough about the Worst parts of our city. It was time we share our stories and hold those doing harm accountable.
We shouldn't have had to host these awards. We should live in a world where marginalized communities have equitable access to proper education, food, employment, healthcare, and housing. We should live in a world where people can exist and thrive without continued harm from systems, businesses, and people.
But we do not. So as we work to build the world we want, we will call out injustice where we see it. When we are threatened, we won't back down, because our community deserves better. We will keep sharing our stories, listening, and holding the worst accountable. We know that as a collective we have power.