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Unlearning Circle: Why We Shouldn't Call the Police

  • Wildflower Church: A Unitarian Universalist Congregation - Austin, TX 1314 E Oltorf St, Austin, Texas 78704 (map)

We’ve all been in that situation, when there’s a person who seems lost, or in crisis; an escalating argument nextdoor; a broken window or a stolen purse, and for many people the solution is obvious: call 911. 

It’s how so many children are raised: if you’re in trouble, call the police. Even Sesame Street says so. But just a few years later, Black parents sit down with their children to talk to them about the dangers of the police. 

In the last several years, the news has been filled with the stories and names of people of color who have been harmed (arrested, injured, killed) by the police, and often times those police were called by white people. From Saheed Vassell to Tamir Rice, those white worries cause catastrophic violence. 

So what does that mean? How do we, as white people, reframe the system of policing so that we don’t extend the damage it causes? What do we do instead, when there is a crisis or an emergency? 

We hope you will join us for this important Unlearning Circle. 

Jason Johnson, From Starbucks to Hashtags: We Need to Talk About Why White Americans Call the Police on Black People

SOS Collective, Ten Lessons for Creating Safety Without Police 

[VIDEO] Vikki Law, Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prisons 

Rose City Copwatch, Alternatives to Police 

Equality 4 Flatbush, Alternatives to Calling 911

*** A note about this space. ***

The nature of our organization and the work we do means that this conversation is facilitated by white people, about whiteness and racism within predominately white spaces. We understand these spaces as only one piece of a multiracial effort to dismantle racism. This work and these spaces are in response to the current and historcial call from black leadership for white anti-racists to organize their own people, and provide material support to their organizing efforts.

While we recognize that the way we as a group navigate this work means that our audience is other white folks, we welcome all who wish to attend, this space is open to all. Our mission statement is below for those who want to know more. 

UWSA mission: Our group works within multi-racial communities to end personal, structural, and cultural racism and build a racially just Austin. We are a group of people of European descent, who’s varying ethnic histories have been forged into one common “white” identity to perpetuate racism. We seek to undo racism in many ways, including educating ourselves on racial oppression, mobilizing other people of European descent to dismantle white supremacy, and supporting social justice organizing led by people of color communities, including indigenous people.