How We Came to Be
Many of us are taught to believe that police exist to “protect and serve” society. Unfortunately, this is not the lived reality for all. In theory, police help communities by resolving conflicts and apprehending wrong-doers. In reality, police create conflict and harm by surveilling, criminalizing, dehumanizing, and brutalizing marginalized communities. The WPD is no exception: it has perpetuated systemic oppression through violence, abuse, and intimidation. We are a group of white allies and POC in Worcester who act in solidarity to address shared concerns around policing and its alternatives. We organize to address systemic issues with the WPD, such as the use of crowd control weapons, lack of access to police conduct records, and known misconduct within the WPD (for example, a history of searching without warrants). We also work to challenge our local elected representatives’ unquestioning support for police: this includes their support for continued increases to the WPD’s budget, their refusal to consider reallocating funds to much needed community-based services, and their continuing dismissal of their constituents’ concerns. Though we came together in June 2020, our work is continuous with the abolitionist movements that have existed for the entire history of this country.
What We Want: Defund The Police
Inspired by the Movement 4 Black Lives and the wealth of abolitionist organizing and thought led by Black women, we stand firm in our commitment to a world in which all communities determine what they need to thrive and how best to achieve safety. Our trust in our neighbors has been eroded by institutions including the police and we have been left without mechanisms to resolve conflicts and come to decisions as a community. Instead, we envision a future for Worcester that exists beyond the cages of racial capitalism, where people have systems of support rooted in the community, conflict does not lead to calling the police, and accountability is made possible through interconnection.
How We Get There: Reinvest in Our Communities
We are fundamentally dedicated to rebuilding trust, redefining safety, reinvesting our resources, and reinforcing the importance of collective care in our communities. Reinvestment in the community does not simply mean a bureaucratic shifting of funds. Rather, we believe in the power of Worcester residents to find new paths to building community safety by embracing the creativity and agency within communities that have been systemically disenfranchised. Decisions about police funding in the United States are primarily local decisions, and it is crucial that people from all walks of life are empowered to participate in these decisions. Because we advocate for long-term alternatives to policing, we employ a plurality of strategies to make those discussions more accessible. Most importantly, we aim to center Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities in Worcester, and we commit to collaborations that forge new systems: systems that ensure safety and joy for everyone. We acknowledge that transformational work like this does not happen overnight. We are invested in the continuing hard work of such transformation, and we invite you to join us in it.