The women from St Anne’s have been relentlessly making phone calls and attending working group meetings in support of a civilian review board with power. Here they offer their reviews on what it felt like to participate in the working group process.
“My experience was very nervous today because I chose to speak about my oldest brother and why he is doing time. I feel great that they felt my story was a great story and decided not to keep the vote going on with having the nine-member board. What I also liked is that this time they actually seem to be interested in what we were talking about and just listened and didn’t have any bad feedback. Then what I didn’t like is that it was really frustrating that they were on the same vote for an hour and still weren’t satisfied with what they decided on. I also thought that was very confusing.” – Tonisha Jackson
“I just feel that they didn’t care about the community. The community has to be there because they are the ones watching deaths, shootings, and abuse from the sheriff’s department. They are never going to understand the community because they re not in the community’s shoes. On a civilian review board, some people on the working group didn’t pay attention to the title of the discussion today.” – Ana Angeles
“There was a lot of discussion back and forth over two words, ‘and’ and ‘or.’ I also spoke for the first time and I was nervous. My hands were cold after I spoke. There are a lot of options about the nine-member board. It is hard to pay attention because most of the time they ignore what the people say. The community is what matters. The public should be heard because we are affected, not the people up on the board. Because why? White people almost get away with everything. The black and brown community is the one getting affected. The right thing is to stop sheriff violence. Get your voice heard to make sure the violence is stopped.” – Diana Villeda
“I feel they are not really trying to give us what we want as far as the nine-member board. I feel that they’re not trying to let us be involved as far as having to say to pick four members that have been directly impacted. I feel they want all kinds of law enforcement and lawyers. That they all know and keep everything private and away from the people that care. I feel like they spent our time talking about choosing words and fixing grammar when they need to get straight to the point.” – Shaerice Brooks
“Why did they take up so much time deciding on one little word such as ‘and’ or ‘or’? It shouldn’t take rocket science to figure that out. They also want to get the sheriff department involved, why? It’s not about them and what they want shouldn’t matter. I matter. The people that have witnessed and experienced for themselves matter. It’s so stressful to try and make them understand. If it takes to go up there, to call, and to show up to their doorstep, then so be it. I’m a person who knows what I want. We know what we want. We want change. Because at the end of the day, we matter.” – Jasmine Brandon