By Anna North at Vox
Photo Drew Angerer/Getty Images
In the midst of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis Police Department officer who murdered George Floyd, SURJ’s Chapter Network Coordiantor Misha Viets van Dyk was interviewed by Vox to discuss alternatives to calling the police:
Fortunately, organizers have been working on this for years. “People who are often the most criminalized and targeted by police” — like BIPOC communities, poor communities, sex workers, and immigrants — “already often have systems in place to not get the police involved,” Misha Viets van Dyk, national chapter organizer with the group Showing Up for Racial Justice, told Vox.
“Being involved in your community is about more than getting along with people. It can also mean making sure the people in your neighborhood have their needs met. “A community can prevent a lot of things like theft if people have what they need,” Viets van Dyk said. “Generally people steal things because they need things and can’t otherwise access them.”
Most communities already have grassroots groups working to help the most vulnerable residents get food, health care, housing, and other necessities. The mutual aid groups that exist in many places can be a good place to startunderstanding what community members need and how to help. Rather than thinking about alternatives to police only when something bad is happening, you can start by working to make your community a safer and healthier place for everyone.”