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    It’s About Time

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    A generation united is demanding an end to racial injustice and police violence. I have been involved in movement politics almost all of my adult life; at 73 years of age that’s a very long time. Never have I seen a movement and a moment quite like this. Black Lives Matter has sparked a multiracial protest across America and in places all around the globe. In the middle of a pandemic and economic chaos, a generation of young black, brown, white, and multiracial protesters have mobilized day after day and night after night to end systemic racism.

    Local governments are responding with long overdue police reforms and policy changes that reconceptualize the role of police as guardians rather than enforcers. In San Francisco, Supervisor Shamann Walton, working with Mayor London Breed, has proposed defunding the police department by shifting an unspecified amount of dollars from the police budget to invest in the city’s Black community.

    At a recent press conference, the Supervisor said, “In these times of continued systemic racism and systematic oppression of Black people, we have to be innovative and strong with our solutions. In order to change this dynamic and provide real opportunity for equity, we need to repurpose resources and give them to black-led organizations and communities in order to level the playing field and achieve successful outcomes.”

    Typically, police officers rarely are held accountable for excess of force. Not so this time. In Atlanta, the police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks has been charged with murder. The Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd has also been charged with murder.

    The Democrats, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, have taken up serious legislation in the House, The Justice in Policing Act, would ban racial profiling, chokeholds, and no-knock warrants in drug cases. The bill also calls for the creation of a national database of police brutality. Corporations are publicly pledging their commitment to ensure equity and inclusion in hiring practices and on boards. Philanthropic foundations are reviewing their practices to understand how they contribute to institutional racism and what they can do to change that.

    These positive changes made and proposed are important first steps. Still, there is much work to do as systemic racism impacts everyone and everything in American life—from the staggering number of incarcerated Black people to the longstanding health, employment, and income disparities in Black and underserved communities.

    My hope is that this year, and in the years to come, Pride can be a time for our community both to celebrate the progress our community has made with respect to our civil rights and to reflect on the issues of racial injustice within and without our community and what we collectively and individually can do to make a difference. 

    Dr. Marcy Adelman, a psychologist and LGBTQ+ longevity advocate and policy adviser, oversees the Aging in Community column. She serves on the California Commission on Aging, the Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California, and the San Francisco Dignity Fund Oversight and Advisory Committee. She is the Co-Founder of Openhouse, the only San Francisco nonprofit exclusively focused on the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ older adults.

    Published on June 25, 2020