A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

When people say “Reform is the answer”

Courtesy of Damon Dahlen at Huffington Post

All I see are police officers taking away my mom

Each time she emerged from your prisons

Each time worse than the last


All I see is the violence of “correctional” officers against her when she needed the most support.

The violence she felt from officers thinking she was unfit to live in the outside world

The violence shared by many who’ve encountered the police


I’m tired of seeing the headlines of another innocent life stolen just for being a person of color or 

A person who couldn’t help being born into the conditions surrounding poverty or

A person who identified as queer in a culture of homophobia


I’m tired of empty promises of police “reform” in the wake of unforgivable harm

More than 1,000 people are killed by police every year

More than any other developed country


I invite everyone to recall when Officer Friendly was quick to deflect blame onto a “bad apple”

How can an individual be responsible for the system that created them?

How can one “bad apple” explain away the orchard?


I invite those convinced police are not violence workers to remember why they exist at all

How could colonialism be maintained without police and their laws? 

How could capitalism survive without violence?


We must realize policing is inseparable from its legacy of racialized violence and murder

Understand their original purpose was to serve the interests of wealthy white landowners 

Understand their history as slave catchers and oppressors


Knowing this, we can understand why reform is not about curbing violence

Not compared to the purpose of preserving the perception of police

Not in comparison to justifying more violence to come 


So, when police promise “reform,” don’t assume their hearts and minds can change so easily

Call into question the use of state-sanctioned violence

Call into question the heart of the problem


Policing is not broken

It’s working exactly as intended

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About the Contributor
Jesse Kapukui
Jesse Kapukui, Staff writer
Jesse Kapukui is in his second year at Santa Rosa Junior College. In his first semester at the Oak Leaf, he is a writer for Arts & Entertainment. Jesse will be the first in his family to graduate from college and hopes to pursue a career in journalism or psychology.

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