Ella Baker Center & Dr. Ibram X. Kendi- Realizing Racial Justice Event
The Ella Baker Center is a non-profit organization that hosted the Realizing Racial Justice event on June 16th. Many individuals spoke on discrimination and the need to defund the police and close youth prisons. Like Genesis, they wish to remove structural racism and they seek a fair justice system to strengthen the community. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is an American author who spoke at the event about the difference of not being racist and being an anti-racist. He mentions how the recognition of the way people internalize and support racist ideals is important to note, and how the denial of being racist is seemingly racist. Dr. Kendi also spoke on the matter of defunding the police, and references how the “combined costs [of the US police budget] are more than every other military let alone police force in the world apart from the US and China.” Money and resources spent on police budgets should be redirected into schools and communities, as he says how it's better to armor schools with books rather than with armored tanks. Dr. Kendi strongly believes that resources should be invested in jobs, social work efforts, schools, and basic income programs to ensure that no one ever will commit crimes over despair and poverty, essentially creating an anti-racist society where people can appreciate human diversity.
As a high school student, I am able to work with Genesis to address the root of these issues. Genesis shared with me a parable of babies floating down a river, which highlights the need to understand and prevent the initiating problem of situations. The justice system was created to reinforce deep structural racism in our society, as it still disproportionately affects communities of color. Reducing police budgets will limit the investments in incarcerations and redirect these resources to address the root of the problem while also investing in schools, health care, and jobs. However, reducing police violence and racial injustices requires unity and support.
This is where Genesis comes in. Dr. Kendi stated how “To me, healing is absolutely essential. We have to believe we can heal, despite the odds being against us. We have to allow ourselves to fight that battle.” Genesis strongly believes in uniting to create a more inclusive and equitable world while healing communities with just and patience. Dr. Kendi concluded his talk by providing ways to help create an anti-racist society. He elucidates on how individuals should identify something they can do in their own lives and find organizations that support their shared beliefs. Joining organizations like Genesis will only help us grow more powerful. Supporting Genesis through volunteering, donating, and simply lending expertise will only help us further rid of structural racism by making an investment and promoting a cause.
Megha Suresh is a 2021 Summer Genesis Intern. She is a rising junior at Dublin High school.