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Envisioning a world without the police. 

By: Cassidy Matteo

On June 8, the protestors occupied the area surrounding the East Precinct Police Department in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, when Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered authorities to vacate the department. In a society where deviants are seen as intolerable, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone known as CHAZ or CHOP, challenges the norm. The area was renamed the “Seattle People Department” and decorated with signs, graffiti, food trucks, music and black leadership. This might be the first attempt to challenge the social norm when people of all walks of life are scared and unsure of change. 

I want to explore deeper how society is reacting to deviances and discover: what is controlling the narrative?

Off the streets, a significant part of controlling what the American people are consuming is the mainstream media. On the news, protestors are being coined as “rioters” or “looters” and we are watching vandalism, fires, destruction. Protesting is our constitutional right as citizens of America and a key piece of instigating change in our history. It is unfortunate that The Black Lives Matter Movement is tainted by the media’s lackluster depiction of everything that is going on aside from this one narrative. 

Then there’s my personal narrative. When I saw the streets of Washington, DC this summer, even just through the eyes of social media, I saw something drastically different than what was depicted on the news. I saw people of all skin colors show their support for The Black Lives Matter Movement in a variety of ways. DC is a second home to me, and to see it in this way was truly amazing and inspiring. Whether it was providing water and snacks to protestors walking in the heat or listening to black leaders in the community speak passionately on their experience - it was very peaceful, reflective and powerful. I was empowered and strengthened by what was happening around me. I not only saw this happening in DC, but in my own community. I saw hundreds of people swarming the streets of  Providence, Rhode Island to fight for their rights and beliefs, and it was beautiful. 

Furthermore, the millennial generation is heavily influenced by the #BlackLivesMatter and #DefundThePolice trending on social media - my personal feed was spewing educational graphics and support for POC. It’s very special that we can use our personal social platforms to initiate important conversations with one another - straying from the social norm that Instagram is only for pictures of our meals and photos at the beach with our friends. I was able to discuss it all with my followers and this encouraged me to further understand how people of color in my close circles feel and think.

With all the chaos that occurred in 2020 so far, I truly believe that everything needs to hit rock bottom before it gets better. 2020 is the time for progression. It is the year for deviants to shine. We can only hope that society can be open to accepting them.

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