EVENTS: Durrel Douglas, Other Community Leaders Urging Houston Citizens to Meet at City of Houston Reflection Pool on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 1:30PM
By Aubrey R. Taylor
Publisher of Houston Business Connections Magazine
The Houston Justice Coalition is a community led organization operated independent of "The Establishment" that allowed us to reach this point in our existence according to its website.
I don’t know a lot about this organization at this point. However, I do like and support the idea of all law enforcement officials wearing body cameras. So, if you like the idea, you may want to join Durrel Douglas and other leaders at the “Reflection Pool” outside Houston City Hall located at 901 Bagby Street, Houston, Texas 77002 on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.
According to a post recently shared by Durrel Douglas via facebook he plans to ask Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council Members to include the voice of the community while moving forward with legislation that would require on-duty HPD Police Officers to wear body cameras.
“We need to not only make sure we have an ordinance requiring the measure, but that the policy meets the wants and needs of the community,” says Douglas.
“For instance, the policy might not require that video be stored for a certain length of time, or that only certain officers have to wear them. We know body cams are a benefit of the police and public citizens, so we need to have a community voice in the decision making process moving forward,” says Douglas.
Douglas wants all those who plan to show up at the “Reflection Pool” at his request, to wear a black shirt as a show of solidarity on this very important issue facing our community.
Call Durrel Douglas at (832)857-5737 if you have any question.
Click this link if you would like to learn more about the Houston Justice Coalition.
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MISSION OF THE HOUSTON JUSTICE COALITION
To improve our justice system at the city and state level through community-led, organic, grassroots advocacy based on concrete attainable goals that is both self sufficient and independent. Through engagement of progressive millennials of color and our allies, strategic planning, andmobilization; we will accomplish legislative, organizing and capacity building goals to combat our broken criminal justice system.
Here's where we'll start:
1. ADOPTING THE MIKE BROWN LAW IN HOUSTON
After the killing of Mike Brown, 18, an unarmed young Black man in August of 2014 by Darren Wilson a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, his mother and father are advocating for passage of a nationwide law they call the "Mike Brown Law" which would sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state,county, and local police, to wear a camera. The day after hundreds of Houstonians took to the streets of Third Ward in solidarity with the citizens of Ferguson, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland announced his support of the measure. (Click here for the story.) With Houston facing a gap in excess of $142 million for the 2016 fiscal year (Click here for the Houston Chronicle article) we know this implementation will be an uphill battle.
How we'll do it:
Join us as we work towards passage of a resolution that includes commitment from the Mayor and city council to allocate funds for the the Mike Brown Law in the 2016 fiscal year and beyond. We'll gather support amongst ourselves, allies and other community leaders before we take this to city hall for passage. (CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION)
2. REFORMING HPD'S CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD
The City of Houston's Independent Police Oversight Board (IPOB) is a 29 member board appointed by the mayor. (Click here for a description of Houston's IPOB). We feel the IPOB should review ALL complaints to internal affairs. If not, we have a system similar to the one that failed to indict Darren Wilson in Ferguson. Simply put: the police shouldn't investigate themselves, we need outside eyes on internal affairs complaints.
How we'll do it:
Join us as we shape our vision of the IPOB, find supportive elected allies in the community, research successful versions of citizen's review boards across the nation and create the proposed policy we want to see passed at city hall and plant the seeds of change here in Houston.
3. INCREASE DIVERSITY ON GRAND JURIES
The grand jury that decided not to indict Darren Wilson only had 3 people of color out of the 12 people on the grand jury. In order to have a fair justice system, we must have diversity. As a grand juror, your vote decides whether or not to take someone to trial for the potential crime they're accused of based on the evidence laid before you. Our goal is the balance the scales of justice.
How we'll do it:
By hosting grand jury workshops, we'll provide the necessary application, postage and notary services at events throughout the county.
4. ELECTED OFFICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT
While hundreds of Houstonians joined together in solidarity the evening after it was announced Darren Wilson, Mike Brown's murderer, was not going to even face a trial, many Black elected leaders were absent at the rally and silent on the issue. Looking back at attacks on our community like Houston ISD's attempt to close five schools, many were silent. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in the past: "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." We not only need vocal leaders to denounce injustice at rallies and protests, we need elected leaders who stand up for us, use the power of their office to strengthen their communities and serve the people who elected them. We will work with those elected officials who are working toward progress and replace those whose bright star shines no more. We will replace them, if necessary, with leaders from the community we can relate to. We can't be in the trenches fighting for after school programs street lights while some electeds fight for hike-and-bike trails and preservation projects.
How we'll do it:
A committee from our community will research our current elected leaders' legislative agenda for the past two years, measure their accessibility, and rate them accordingly. We will find manpower and organize with those working for us and work against those who are holding up progress. The committee meets monthly at Kaffeine Coffe where notes are given on previous city council/state legislature meetings of interest to the Houston Justice Coalition. By keeping track of movement in the halls of government, we benefit by having the ability to share that information with our community and track the progress of our projects.
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