Photo: Javier Soriano
BYP100 Announces National Call for Video Testimonials from Young Black People Criminalized by Police
Youth organization says this is first step in campaign to end criminalization of Black youth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2014
Chicago, IL – BYP100 has announced a national call for Black Americans between the ages of 13-35 to submit 1 to 3 minute videos sharing a message they want to send to law enforcement about how they’ve been criminalized by the police.
BYP100 will use the stories submitted by young Black Americans to develop its public policy agenda and direct action campaigns across the country. These videos should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 31st, 2014.
This is a first step in a long-term campaign to end the criminalization of Black youth who are disproportionately arrested, stopped and frisked and profiled by the police. The campaign was sparked after a group of BYP100 members were racially profiled on the campus of Princeton University. This same group actually had a healthy dialogue with the police officer that was recorded, posted online, and quickly went viral. But they know that this story is not the standard response from police when confronting many young black people.
“As Black youth we don’t feel like we get the benefit of the doubt,” says Devin Barrington-Ward, a BYP100 member based in Washington, DC.
There are certainly many police officers that carry out their duties with honor and integrity. Sadly, there are numerous law enforcement officials who continue to criminalize and abuse Black youth through racial profiling, abuse and unlawful arrest. However, this is not a campaign only meant to highlight the actions of bad police officers. BYP100 wants to highlight the many ways that young Black people are thought to be and treated as criminals instead of citizens.
Black youth are constantly reminded that in the minds and actions of the system of law enforcement, they are people to be contained, monitored, detained and arrested-that is a criminalization of their lives. Young Black people are all too often seen as criminals and not humans with rights that must be respected. It is time that we hold the police and all those who would criminalize us accountable for their actions; one crucial way of doing this is by empowering youth to speak truth to power.
“Through the #CriminalizedLives campaign, we will move closer to ending criminalization by amplifying the stories of young Black people, young women and men, Black LGBT and queer youth who have been criminalized by the police and turning their stories into action,” says BYP100 National Coordinator Charlene Carruthers.