[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ever since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, we have witnessed throughout the country an increase in violence aimed at police and accusations that all police are racists. We have heard words like microagression and systemic as those who desire to gin up racial animosity and hatred accuse others, especially the police, of being racist bigots.
[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”5517620b381df”][vc_column_text]In Baltimore, after the death of Freddie Gray, six officers were charged with his murder. Although three of the officers are black, the department was still accused of systemic racism and discrimination and, like clockwork, the Obama Department of Injustice swooped in to investigate.
On the heels of Michelle Obama giving a racially charged commencement speech at Tuskegee University in which she continued to feed the anger that has fueled violence and lawlessness in cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson, dozens of high school students, most of whom are black, are sending a completely different message.
Isaiah Catania, a freshman at Brunswick High School located in Brunswick, Illinois, organized an event, along with school resource officer Derek Zelenka, that was more than just a photo opportunity. It was meant to send a message that not all cops are bad, in fact they are mostly good, and that a few bad apples should not cause a blanket accusation of racism and abuse to be levied against every cop.
The group of mostly black students, who were wearing t-shirts that said “Don’t Believe the Hype,” gathered on a football field with white police officers and linked arms.
Catania said, “This is to show that officers like him and people like me aren’t always going to be in a feud. There’s always good cops like him and there’s always good kids like us out here.”[/vc_column_text][banner300 banner=”553157113d3ff”][vc_column_text]Zelenka, in speaking about the event and how it contrasts with the narrative being pushed throughout the country, said, “They’re bearing the brunt of going out on a limb and saying we’ll bring the officers in. They defend me. If someone says something about me, they say ‘no, no they’re not what you think.’ So, it’s all on these kids to do something like this and say, ‘it’s okay.'” He added, “These are my kids, my teenagers and, uh, all I can say is it means a lot.”
The students who participated in the event are athletes, musicians, artists and leaders in their school. They are hoping to lead by example in countering the narrative that has created an us against them mentality when it comes to the police and has transformed into a battle against not only police, but law and order.
As part of their efforts to effect change, the students are spreading their picture and message on social media using the hashtags #EndThePain and #ETP.
h/t ABC 5[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]