This past July, I travelled to Toronto, Canada with a good friend for good times. We caught the Megabus which allowed us to pay no more than $60 rountrip per person. No bad, eh!
Moving along...some keen observations on my trip. Our bus made a stop in Buffalo, NY at the downtown Greyhound Station. During our 8 hour wait, we noticed that the station had a police station with 2 police on duty. One officer in particular, had a lot of gear holding his body down. Officer ensemble is as follows...gun, check...walkie talkie, check...bulletproof jacket, check...taser gun, check...mace, check...handcuffs, check...baton, check...oppresive presence...check.
In my mind, as I follow this officer walk around the Greyhound Station is that his presence made me a bit uneasy. Now I know there's a lot of drama that unfolds in the Greyhound Station but not sure if it warrants this much attention.
Heading over to Canada, we made a stop at the Canadian border on the Canadian side. I was relieved to find smiling officers who's presence was felt but not in an intimidating manner. Our bags weren't checked and we went by our way. Once in Toronto (one of Canada's busiest cities) we observed no police presence other than a few police during our 3day stay. I asked a few Canadian's where the police were, they simply replied, "they are around, just when you call them." That statement alone changed my perspective of police relations in the United States. In the US, police are so densely spread out that its hard not to approach one on a simple trip to the corner store..."ain't that some shyt?"
On our way back from Canada, we made our stop at the Canadian border on the American side. As soon as I stepped one foot in the door, we were greeted by US's finest. One officer in particular, found it upon himself to yell at me for not walking fast enough. (let me add that at least 80 people were in line waiting to be screened). Dazed and confused, I looked up to a tall officer with a coffee cup in his hand yelling at me telling me to get against the wall. After his 3rd attempt to yell at me, I stared at the officer in confusion only to be yelled at one again. His words echo in my head til this day..."don't you stare at me like that!" Anger and resentment built up in my system. Why was he yelling at us? What triggered his attitude? Why me? Now, a lot of things ran through my mind as the cop and I were eye to eye...disappointment and anger still remain.
So what do I do? I pushed that anger into my art, that's what I did. I want to expose social ills and injustice in the themes of my tees. Wake people up...let them know that the motto, "Protect & Serve" never once crossed my mind as I was harassed. I wasn't being protected, and this officer was not providing a service that my tax dollars paid for.
This tee is dedicated to the truth. It's time to evaluate our relationships with the police and the roles they serve in our communities. We hear of so many "bad cops" which overshadow the good ones. Good cops, bad cops...at the end of the day, they all work for the same system which was created to function off of "crime" as means of survival...financial stability.
So, we can either be blind to the inustices, or become involved in radical change with education and exposurue to these issues. We choose the latter.