I'm writing in response to the letter titled "We all know good cops" on July 13. I agree with Patrick Ryan that many of us who are white know good cops. My experience and that of most white people I know has been positive.
I know Chris Boyer, retired North Mankato police chief and Amy Vokal, the current director of public safety in Mankato. Both are fine individuals working toward equity in public safety. I know them through my work at Mankato Refugee Services and their involvement in the Tapestry Project, a program designed to build trust and relationships between the local, mostly white population, and individuals with refugee and immigrant status. The program is a first step and it has been successful in beginning to create communication and understanding.
But that is not the point of the current calls for policing across Minnesota and the United States to be fundamentally changed. Though there are many good individuals who are police, the systems in which they are trained and the deep systemic beliefs and actions of the majority white people in our country must be examined.
We need to ask people of color about their lived experience and hear and believe their stories, examine our hearts and make changes both as individuals and as a society.
This will not be easy or quick, but it has to happen, starting with those of us who are white, understanding that our society has given opportunities and privilege to us, while systematically denying it for people of color. I am on a journey to understanding and anti-racism.
I invite others to join me. It will make a difference.