Justice is impossible with the absence of education. We find ourselves living in a society that tries to utilize quick fix methods to address injustice, yet ignores the fundamental concept of properly training individuals.
Since the untimely death of Tyre Nichols, it has been hard for me to function. As an educator, I have to work with a slew of black men and young black boys on a daily basis to help train them to become change agents in a society that seems to be changing for the worse. Not to mention the thought of my son, nephews, and family members who are growing up in this country. As black people we are Tyre-d of the injustice!
In a school setting, we not only teach academics, we also educate the children holistically. They are trained on core values like respect, accountability, responsibility, and compassion. The latter are lifelong skills that need to be revisited consistently regardless of your profession, especially if you're in the business of serving the community. I'm fully aware that ending police brutality is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires a comprehensive approach. I don't claim to have the answer, but I do know there are research and organizations that are dedicated to bring about the necessary change. Similar to scholars in schools, police officers need to be trained and educated regularly on various topics before they're trusted to enter the workforce. I appreciated the fact that these men and women risk their lives to keep "order" and "safety" in our society. However, there needs to be a better process to ensure they have the skills, training, and character necessary to serve in a professional and fair manner.
The fact that Mr. Nichols died as a result of a savage beatdown by black men magnifies the agony of this senseless act. Just like education, it's no secret that the police force is infested with systemic issues. My black people, don't add to the nonsense! Instead, we should be lean on the learned lesson of history to stand on the front line of promoting education, advocacy, and policy change. There are so many layers of cultural competence that need to peeled for this situation, but I digress.
While policies, reforms, and techniques can be effective in addressing police brutality, it will take a sustained and coordinated educational effort by law enforcement, government, communities, and other stakeholders to bring about real and lasting change. As I pray and hope these things happen, I have to admit that my ultimate faith is in Christ. It's hard to believe that a human being is going to bring the transformation we need as a society. Besides, no one on this planet loves my soul more than He does. Most importantly, I need a supernatural peace every time I step foot outside of my house to engage in an unjust world. Justice should be about the education of all of us in every aspect for the betterment of humanity.
Berwick Augustin is the founder of Evoke180, a leading publishing company that also specializes in Haitian-Creole translations. He is an educational consultant and keynote speaker who embodies two decades of experience as a writer, teacher, and assistant principal. Berwick is the author, most recently, of bilingual books, Days, Months, and Seasons in Haitian-Creole, The Haitian-Creole Alphabet-and 1803 The Haitian Flag.