Fryer for Arizona Blog

Shut up and listen

I think my blog will usually be a little irreverent. But I’m just not feeling it today.

Yesterday evening, community members gathered after the second police involved death of unarmed men, one of whom was black, in Maricopa County (Mesa & Phoenix) in the past week.

I was asked to speak and didn’t.

Elected leaders and political candidates talk way, way too much. Also, I know I have a lot to learn.

So, I just held space with my neighbors and brothers and sisters, and tried to listen.

 

Neighbors stand on the sidewalk, near Central and Osborn, where an unarmed man was shot by a Phoenix police officer earlier that day.

 

Some things I learned in a new or deeper way last night:

1. The divide between the police and impacted communities (especially communities of color – of all economic classes – and poor communities) will not be bridged, at this point, without radical transformation in the way policing happens. We will not tweak our way out of this terrible mess.

 

 

2. We set ourselves up for this terrible mess, in the first place, by creating a “criminal justice” system, filled with “law enforcement officers,” instead of a PUBLIC SAFETY system filled with PEACE OFFICERS.

Just think about that for a long minute.

Imagine the kinds of things we would be investing in if our goal was THE SAFETY OF ALL people in our communities – ALL people – and not just the “enforcement” of laws.

3. There aren’t enough elected leaders with enough imagination or big enough hearts or enough courage in our state. That needs to change. Now. Because PEOPLE. ARE. DYING.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I published a “criminal justice reform” policy statement and proposals on my website weeks ago. Here’s what I didn’t say, and should have:

If elected, I will form a citizen-led task force – and give it real power – to help us reimagine and re-shape public safety in our state.

And I will do everything in my power to fix this, so help me God.

Man-spreading: Here’s why it matters

 

A lot of you have messaged me about the man-spreading that seems to have gotten worse since I qualified for the ballot. This new example is my favorite because it literally has the face of the media in the middle of it.

 

Woe is the media.

Usually I feel sorry for folks in the media. Most of them don’t have enough resources to do actual reporting anymore, and a lot of the media outlets are owned by…well, you know. One reporter I met with last week seemed genuinely sorry that everybody ran a story on May 30th  saying TWO Democrats were running to unseat Doug Ducey (guess which Democrat they left out). When asked to fix it, they basically said, “Well, you know. I work for a lot of old white guys.”

 

Here’s the Real Problem.

No, it’s not that my feelings are hurt, but it’s nice of you to ask. The real problem is I’m not the only person getting shoved out of the picture. 

I got into this race because every voice matters. I’m going places other candidates don’t go. I’m listening. I’m talking about issues no one else is talking about. (Racial justice, anyone? Criminal justice reform? Economic equity and comprehensive tax reform? Anyone? No, I didn’t think so.)

If my voice gets silenced, so does the young man in Ajo, where you have to drive 2 hours to Phoenix to get a driver’s license (get the irony?) because the state of Arizona has pulled the DMV and almost every other service out of small towns and rural communities — which means a lot of folks just don’t do it, which means they probably can’t vote. 

Who else?

If I’m not in the picture, which potential governor is going to stand against racism with the community to demand an end to police brutality?

Who is going to come to the table with actual, real, BIG ideas that will end child poverty, inject capital into locally owned small businesses instead of giant corporations, make our colleges & universities debt-free for every Arizonan, put our unions to work training young adults for the trades, and create economic development in all 15 counties (not just the great state of Maricopa County).

Who is not going to shut up until we deal with the fact that so many tribal members in our state still don’t have running water, electricity, broadband, cell phone coverage or passable roads — what the absolute %#$&!!!

Yes, we can.

These facts are inconvenient to a lot of the folks in charge. They know the problems are big and they know it’s going to cost (them) money. But, you know what? I don’t care. I’m sick and tired of being told we “can’t.”

Yes, we absolutely can.

When I was a kid, I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

I’m pretty sure we can figure out how to put decent roads on the Res and a driver’s license into the hands of every Ajo-ian.

Welcome to my blog.

I’m not sure man-spreading is a problem on the Tucson streetcar. There are usually so many empty seats, everyone can take two or three. But I’ve been on some crowded subway cars. And here’s what I’ve learned: When someone is trying to push you out, push back. 

So, welcome to my blog.

My team spoke to KTAR today and apparently Mr. O’Neil would love to have me on his show…in July.

via GIPHY

I’m not going to hold my breath for the traditional media to give me a fair shake. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have the conversation about what really matters.

Somebody’s gotta do it.