Activist Keiajah Brooks delivered a passionate speech during this month’s meeting of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners where she called out Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith for using photo opportunities with Black children for PR purposes while being complicit in their “oppression and denigration.”
Brooks says, “Fair warning, I’m not nice and I don’t seek to be respectable, I’m not asking y’all for anything ’cause y’all can’t and won’t be both my savior and my oppressor. I don’t want reform. I want to turn this building into luxury low-cost housing. These would make some really nice apartments. Firstly, stop using Black children as photo opportunities ’cause they’re cute now, but in 10 years, they’re Black male suspects in red shirts and khaki shorts. Eating cookies and drinking milk with children does not absolve you of your complicity in their oppression and denigration, Rick Smith…. ’cause Kansas City will spend more on police than education then try to encourage children to feast with their oppressors. Y’all are really weird.”
Brooks goes on to say, “It’s asinine to be called radical or home-grown terrorists for not wanting government employees to kill citizens in any instance, so I’m not here begging anything of soulless white folks and self-preserving Black folks. You get one life, and you all in this room have chosen profits over people and that’s pathetic.”
It’s always refreshing to see a young, powerful, melanated mind speak truth to power in the face of overwhelming adversity. This young Black woman courageously exposed the Police Chief and department without holding back any punches.
What I can appreciate most is the acknowledgement that the system or the police can not be both our oppressor and savior at the same time. Some people have a hard time coming to that realization because they are so hopelessly dependent on the “system” they can’t even imagine finding solutions and opportunities elsewhere. Justifying America’s hypocrisy is like making excuses for staying in a physically abusive relationship that leaves you bloody and bruised on a regular basis.
Salute to Ms. Brooks for standing firm on her square and speaking truth to power.