#AdvocacyMatters: The Symptoms and the Cause

February 12, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters

When faced with a serious diagnosis, common sense dictates that addressing only the symptoms and not the disease is not a cure. While symptoms can be covered over and hidden away for a time, the sickness that causes them will continue to fester under the surface… waiting for its next moment to break through. The only true cure is to find, attack, and eradicate the root sickness. This path is rarely easy, but in the discomfort and exhaustion of the fight can be found the triumph of victory. Where a cancer once raged, something better can arise.

Last summer, DRO released a landmark report on the injustices that exist where race, disability, and policing intersect. Policing and Racial Justice: A Disability Rights Perspective found that marginalized groups are at high risk for police use of force and death by police—including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and people with disabilities. While people with disabilities make up only 20% of the population, they make up 30-50% of all police uses of force and 33-50% of all deaths at the hands of police. The intersection of race, sexual orientation, and disability exacerbate the risk for being harmed or killed by the same people charged with protecting and serving our communities.

Last week, our fight for better systems of community safety and policing moved one step further with a letter calling on Columbus City Council to reimagine the public safety system. In this letter, we encourage council to invest in new community-based systems for both emergency and non-emergency situations. Inspired by Eugene, Oregon’s well-established CAHOOTS system, we believe that many calls for service within our communities would be better handled by social workers, addiction specialists, and mental and physical health specialists.

We know that this letter is only a start of a solution. Just like a doctor uncovering the root cause of a sickness and creating a treatment plan, the importance of these efforts to eradicate the systems that have led to this dangerous place cannot be overstated. We have the diagnosis, and because #AdvocacyMatters we won’t stop fighting until the treatment plan is complete.

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