Politics and Business

Citizen’s Rights: Are They A Thing of The Past?

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As I write this, I’m at a loss for words. I need to write about it, but what does one say? I will never understand what this is like, because I do have white privilege. I will never understand the magnitude of it, I will never be able to truly empathize. But hopefully, the fact that I know that I cannot empathize will at least lead me to understanding a fraction of what families, people, and communities go through when crises such as this happen.

This doesn’t just happen in the south or the Midwest or Florida. It happens everywhere. There were police shootings of five unarmed black men in August alone. Five. The violation of not just citizens’ rights, but basic human rights, by our law enforcement is a national epidemic.

I have been thinking about a way to develop a resource for citizens’ rights information for a year. With the help of a friend and the support of SOCIAL, I was finally able to do it.

It is with a heavy heart that I say that there is nothing I can do to help advance justice in cases like the one against Michael Brown’s killer. In no way am I saying that knowing his rights as a citizen would have helped him either. Black people’s rights are largely ignored, which is something that I thought about while developing this plan, and hopefully made something that will help.

I made a Kick starter project for an app for citizen’s rights. The way that this app differentiates itself from any other one out there is that one of my primary goals for this app was to make a resource for people to know their rights in urgent situations. It will also be translated into at least 5 different languages; it will have a version for undocumented workers, and one for foreigners who don’t know the American legal system.

 

Most of all, it will have an embedded recording device, as well as a shortcut that activates it if, say, your phone is in your pocket. In all 50 states, you are allowed to record an interaction if you believe that there is a chance that your rights will be violated. Imagine if we had all of the recordings of the interactions with the Oakland Police Department (OPD), one of if not the most corrupt and trigger-heavy police departments in the developed world. Imagine if we had the recordings of the interactions with the NYPD with stop-and-frisk.

I was in Oakland when Oscar Grant was killed by BART police. This was the story that was told in the film Fruitvale Station. I remember the riots, and I remember hearing someone complain about the riots, saying that they’re not accomplishing anything. I also remember telling that person that honestly, regardless of whether that’s true, he couldn’t judge what people do when injustice of this import happens. I remember watching my city, my community, my entire region be torn apart by it.

I didn’t have the ability to do it back then. Now, I have no choice but to do it because something has to be done.

If you want to check out my kick starter, you can find it here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1681749416/know-your-rights

There’s a lot more information there. And please, as always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or
want to talk!

 

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