The power of peaceful protest
“Hopelessness is the enemy of justice,” said Civil Rights leader Bryan Stevenson. As we struggle for justice, we cannot lose hope. We are engaged in a national debate that reflects a tragic legacy of racism and injustice and propels the enduring hope we can move towards a more equitable and just future. That debate has simmered and boiled throughout our history. It is now focused on the role police have in our community.
The conversation is taking place here in Anchorage as well, and the starting point must be a shared imperative, which reflects our community’s values of equity and equality. I have been encouraged by the many thoughtful messages I have received on how police policies must show a commitment that all people are treated fairly and equally, with dignity and respect. I agree. These are not going to be easy conversations, but they are long overdue.
Chief Doll and I believe policing depends on securing and maintaining public trust. We must hold those accountable who fail to live up to that standard. It is why APD officers are prohibited from using chokeholds and strangleholds to detain people; officers are required to identify themselves and issue verbal warnings prior to the use of force, whenever possible; and to immediately report excessive use of force. In the days to come, we will continue this conversation by publishing additional information related to the use of force and officer accountability.
All around the nation, and here at home, protests are taking place that bring us together to share the anguish of our past and a common hope for a better future. I support those peaceful protests because they speak to truths that define who we are and move us to heal the wounds that divide us. In these times, these gatherings move us towards achieving the real change – equality and justice – that have long been the promise of this nation.