UEP Colloquium: Planners, Policy-Makers and #BlackLivesMatter

Following Wednesday’s Forum on Race, Inequality and Action, in which the university took an academic approach to engage the community and create a better understanding of issues surrounding the Mike Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions, UEP hosted a forum of its own to address the role of planners and policy-makers in the Black Lives Matter movement.

The university-wide forum featured Tufts professors Peniel Joseph, Kendra Field, and Helen Marrow to address public policy and racialized violence. Joyce Sackey, Heather Curtis, and Pearl Robinson spoke on encouraging and empowering for social change.

At the UEP Colloquium, roughly 25 people showed up to report back on the forum and discuss how we, as planners and policy-makers, can effect change on the issue. Participants mentioned the diversity of cultures participating in the discourse, emphasizing the different ways that racialized police violence can be approached. The panel also emphasized the importance of knowing the long history of the issue in order to understand current problems. Quota policies force officers to arrest a certain number of people each month, which becomes almost a necessity as a funding source for municipalities. As funding continues to be a recurring problem, military weapon hand-me-downs are welcomed by police forces, worried about future funding prospects.

After the colloquium, a number of resources were distributed by participants for further reading on the topic:

This article, from Progressive Planning Magazine, directly addresses the connection between urban planners and racial justice.

Here, a former Seattle Police Chief talks about the militarization of the police force.

St. Louis Public Radio takes inspiration from Cincinnati police reform.

Closer to home, The Somerville Times covers an experiment in finding common ground between police and local youth.

For those interested in participating further, Tufts Graduate Student Organizing will hold a meeting in Jaharis room 155 at the Boston Campus on Tuesday, March 3rd from 5-7pm. UEP is trying to build support throughout the graduate student community, but all are invited to attend.