Letters to the Editor

Ajamu Dillahunt: Act now to combat poverty, crime

Robert Korstad’s May 12 Point of View “Stop crime? Fight poverty first” was an excellent description of some of the causal factors for the conditions in countless black communities across the country and the basis for rebellions like those in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore.

Korstad, as an academic and activist, has for several decades written about and advocated for workers’ and African-American rights. Naming gentrification and proposing a reparative project are brilliant contributions to the conversation. His policy prescriptions are fundamental to any change and beg for urgent implementation.

The preservation of black bodies, however, needs immediate attention as well. Body cameras, anti-bias training and civilian oversight boards with teeth are policy changes that cannot be delayed. Without them our communities remain at risk for violence against their residents by law enforcement officers and the potential violence of uprisings that result from the anger and resistance generated by these outrages.

In the current political climate, the anti-poverty agenda does not have much of a chance, and that has to change. The measures required to ameliorate what seems like a growing epidemic of black men and women dying at the hands of police agencies cannot be delayed.

Ajamu Dillahunt