The staff of Frayser CDC have heavy hearts. The murder of George Floyd, and far too many others, has again reminded us that the world we live in needs to change. We have never come to work in Frayser to maintain the status quo, but rather to serve the cause of respect for all people, especially those who live in communities like Frayser.

Frayser CDC has never shouted slogans, but rather has come to work to make real progress – to help families find good, respectful housing; to build financial security.

However, we’ve always known this is not enough. Families must feel respected and secure in all aspects of their lives. We know that 400 years of racism will not be wiped out this year, but we are sure that real steps must be taken now.

Frayser CDC has long had a positive relationship with the police in the north precinct. However, we still know that things must change. The police, all across this nation, must be accountable for their actions. There must be mechanisms put in place to identify and deal with bad policing – well before those actions are fatal. Had such a system been in place in Minneapolis, Derek Chauvin, the man who took Floyd’s life, would have been identified as a man who should not have been entrusted with a badge and a gun.

In Memphis we have CLERB – the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board. CLERB has been described, by its own members as a “toothless lion”. It has had no powers, and its recommendations are routinely ignored. A genuine and empowered system of accountability and oversight must be established. This is for the protection of our citizens, but for good cops everywhere as well.

Memphis police, especially in our Black communities, urge residents to report crimes. This is perfectly legitimate, although many people view that as “snitching”. But this message must be heeded by the police themselves; the “blue curtain” of silence must end now. Police must police themselves. There is a place for a police union, to represent and protect our officers. But the union must no longer see it as their task to represent bad actors who threaten the whole force.

In this trying time we have been heartened by the actions of many – from police officers joining forces with protesters, to prominent athletes using their positions to speak out, to people standing on corners across our city with signs proclaiming that black lives do matter. Frayser CDC staff join these voices to say – we must all do better, we must all be better, it is all of our responsibility to make our world safe for all, starting in Frayser. Silent no more.

Frayser CDC Staff