LANSING, Mich. — After joining in with community organizers at a protest this past Saturday, the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter took action again. This time with a few demands at the doorstep of the Lansing Board of Police Commissioners on Tuesday.
When Jordan X. Evans and Amy Lewis joined Black Lives Matter it was for different reasons.
“After Trayvon Martin, there were protests that seemed to be happening every other day and so I just joined in protesting,” Lewis said.
“I’m finishing my masters in history and I just got to the point where I was just tired of writing about history tired of writing about civil rights and tired of writing about these events and seeing it continue to happen around us I knew that it was time for me to do more,” Evans said.
After seeing the viral video of the 16-year-old girl punched by Lansing police, they shared the same reaction.
“I froze and I was filled with rage,” Lewis said. “I was ready to take action.”
From the beginning, the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter stood in solidarity with the girl in the video and her family.
“The Lily family reached out and we asked them what their demands were and their demands are compensation for the Lily family for psychological and physical harm done as well as the firing of the two police officers,” Evans said.
It’s a song they say they’ve heard for long enough.
“It’s awful seeing these images over and over and over again. We always say it can happen in our backyard because it can and clearly it did,” Lewis said.
The two believe police violence is a community issue and they’re not alone. Local organizations like Sunrise Lansing have banded with Black Lives Matter and the Lily Family.
Shelby Krohn, Sunrise Movement
“This is a racial, social and economic justice issue and if we’re going to create a just society for everyone in Lansing we all have to stick together because that’s the way we are more powerful,” Sunrise Movement member Shelby Krohn said.
Carmen Bouquin, Sunrise Movement
“It’s also a part of white people taking accountability for their part in this process,” Sunrise Movement member Carmen Bouquin added. “We have stayed silent on a lot of issues and it’s time to voice and be accountable.”
They have a message to share to Lansing’s leaders.
“They’re saying that they’re for Juneteenth and PRIDE but at the same time when we’re asking them to talk to us we have not got a response yet,” Evans said.
“I think that they have an unprecedented opportunity to make a response on the side of justice,” Lewis said.
Black Lives Matter asked for four things in addition to firing the officers and paying the family.
They want a city of Lansing community accountability council, full transparency of suspected police misconduct, updated training and new policies for police interactions with minors.
Black Lives Matter along with other community organizations shared their concerns with the Lansing Police Commission at City Hall Thursday night.
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