INTRODUCING TAKELINE WITH JASON CONCEPCION & RENEE MONTGOMERY INTRODUCING TAKELINE WITH JASON CONCEPCION & RENEE MONTGOMERY
January 05, 2021
Pod Save The People
Write It Down (with Fix SAPD)

In This Episode

DeRay, Kaya, Sam, and De’Ara dive into the underreported news of the week, including Ayanna Pressley, vaccine awareness, weather modification devices, and the Black amputation epidemic. Netta Elzie gives updates on what’s happening with the nationwide protests. DeRay sits down with Fix SAPD organizers James Dykman and Oji Martin, who are fighting for police accountability in San Antonio.
Links:

Transcript:

DeRay [00:00:01] Hey, this is DeRay and welcome to Pod Save the People and welcome to twenty, twenty one. The first episode of twenty, twenty one. We’ve been going strong since 2016. Thanks for being a listener. We’re excited to bring the news that you don’t know this week with me, Sam, Kaya and De’Ara, and then Netta joins us to give us an update on the protests and what’s happening with regard to policing. And then I sit down with fixed SAPD, a group of organizers who are fighting around police accountability in San Antonio. My advice for this week is; write it down.  That like I have been going back and forth with somebody I’m close to. And we’ve been actually writing it down like not just talking it through, but writing down our feelings and sort of things that we’re trying to process and things that we’re thinking about our hopes and dreams and it mattera. So I’d say at the beginning of twenty, twenty one, write it down, commit to the words, commit to the ideas, be in relationship with people in a way that allows you both to process the written word and not only the oral. So write it down.

De’Ara [00:00:57] Hello everyone. By the time you hear this, it’ll be January 5th, Election Day in Georgia. Welcome to Pod Save the People. We missed you.

De’Ara [00:01:06] I’m De’Ara Balenger. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter at De’Ara Balenger.

Sam [00:01:10] I’m Sam Sinyangwe @samswey on Twitter.

Kaya [00:01:12] I’m Kaya Henderson at HendersonKaya on Twitter.

DeRay [00:01:16] I’m DeRay @deray on Twitter.

De’Ara [00:01:18] So hopefully we’re all celebrating, enjoying the day. I’m knocking on wood and my head for great results.

De’Ara [00:01:27] The results that we want in Georgia that’ll get us these two Senate seats that’ll, you know, get us even wilder tweets from, you know who.  you know he’s going to be heated if he loses, if we lose, if they lose those Senate seats.

Kaya [00:01:44] He’s Already heated. Did you hear his call with the secretary of state in Georgia? Oh, my soul.

De’Ara [00:01:51] You know, the other thing that I’m thinking about for just the Trumps in general, y’all are running out of places where you actually can live January 21st. Like don’t like Georgia was probably a place you could actually go and be somewhat received. I mean, nowhere where black people are in Georgia. However, there are a lot of other places you can go. So I just feel like they really are making it So the only place they are going to be tolerated.

Kaya [00:02:17] Is Florida?

De’Ara [00:02:19] But not even the whole thing, not even the whole thing.

Sam [00:02:23] Just South Florida. I don’t know what’s going on with South Florida.

Sam [00:02:25] Those election maps, like I’m thinking twice about South Florida.

DeRay [00:02:30] You know, but it was interesting because secretary of state in Georgia on that call, I only had a little bit of it. But people realize, like Trump has this sort of aura of ‘his base is is willing to protect him,’ but that does not extend to everybody in the party. And these people are like, OK, we can ride the wave a little bit, but we are we will not survive the prosecution and whatever. And people like we can’t go down with that. And that’s actually interesting. It’ll be we also can’t let the Republicans who enabled Trump just like act like the last four years didn’t happen. Like, I don’t know what the strategy is.

Kaya [00:03:04] That’s right.

DeRay [00:03:04] We cannot act like they are going to be like, oh, well, it’s done now. You’re like, what?

Kaya [00:03:09] They have to be held accountable.

De’Ara [00:03:11] I don’t know when the accountability starts. I mean, I think with this certification of the Electoral College that’s happening on the 6th, I think their latest I saw was like twelve different Republicans who are going to come out against the results in their states. I mean, it doesn’t matter. But again, Kaya, to your point about accountability, like when when does that clock start? Is that January 7th? Is it January 20th? Like what is going to happen to these folks, if anything? I mean, and I think if I were the president elect, among the many other things I would be doing was talking to the DOJ about what Trump is doing. Because the other thing that’s interesting is that, you know, it’s illegal.

De’Ara [00:03:51] You can’t really can’t do that. It’s against the law. And so I think that’s the interesting thing to like. Is this going to be yet another thing that he gets away with? It’s wild, it’s absolutely wild.

Kaya [00:04:01] I mean, I think the only reason why 12 Republican senators would actually stand up for this is because they know that there is no there’s no negative consequence for them. This lack of accountability is really, really dangerous. I watched the Wisconsin senator on Meet the Press this morning and I watched Chuck Todd really go in in ways that I have never seen Chuck Todd do before, where this man literally was just spewing untruths. And Chuck Todd was like, wait, we like we we literally cannot let this stand. Like, this is not true. So you can’t just keep saying it and it’s not OK. And he just kept on talking because he knows that nobody is going to hold him accountable. There is no repercussions for him saying untruths and that we have to figure out how to deal with because that’s what’s embolden.

Kaya [00:04:59] These people to do what they’re doing,.

Sam [00:05:01] It’s sort of wild to think back at almost how normalized this has become over the past four years. I can’t even count the number of like open plain crimes that we’ve seen the current president or this president’s administration commit. Right. And just plain as day, clear crimes like crimes that carry a hefty sentence if you or me or anybody else committed it. But for some reason, the system has continuously and consistently protected and completely prevented from being held accountable the people who have committed these crimes. So everything from like the the election and the coordination with Russia over the election crimes their, perjury when asked to explain their conduct with regard to the election, to what we’re seeing right now, which is open election fraud. Right. Like in another election. And so, I mean, it’s just at some point, like, it’s completely meaningless to even use the word accountability or to pretend that accountability is a function of the current system. If Donald Trump is not going to be held accountable for the litany of things that he has cause. And that’s just like the you know, that’s not even including the crimes against humanity. Right. Crimes against whole groups of people, whole populations, whole countries that got banned. Right. So like this is this is huge. And he has to be held accountable either domestically or internationally. I don’t know if there’s a war crimes tribunal. I don’t know what it is. But like, he actually does need to end up in prison.

DeRay [00:06:30] And one of the things I know, this is not our news. We have other news. But one of the things that went under the radar is his last wave of appointment. So he is he’s working until the last moment. I don’t know if you know that Hope Hicks, if you remember, Hope Hicks was like his right hand person. She got appointed to the board overseeing the Fulbright scholarships in the past couple of weeks. So that is one of her, sort of gifts long term. Pam Bondi, if you remember Pam Bondi, who was the Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi got appointed to the board of trustees for the JFK Center for Performing Arts.

Kaya [00:07:01] Oh, no.

DeRay [00:07:01] Stephanie Grisham, who you probably don’t remember because she was the White House press secretary who never held a formal public media briefing during her time as the White House press secretary, she got appointed to the National Board for Education Sciences. And this is among a set of forty appointments that he did in the past couple of weeks to a host of things like the Commission on Fine Arts, a national museum and Library Services Board, and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. So he’s seating all of his people to be there for the long term. And it’s like this is actually, you know, I know the Dems are like, you know, rules, rules, rules. This man didn’t give two bird craps about the rules. Like, you just can’t fight this kind of treachery with a really cool press conference. Like people got to the clean up on this administration needs to be swift and fierce.

Kaya [00:07:50] Hmm.

De’Ara [00:07:51] Well, speaking of that, my news is about the honorable Congresswoman Ayana Presley from state of Massachusetts. So this article was really interesting.

De’Ara [00:08:07] One, I think I am just really fascinated by what’s going to happen with Congress, just given what Congress looks like now and just the fact that we had a really diverse class, probably the most diverse class coming in 2019 and now in twenty, twenty one, we’re adding on to that.

De’Ara [00:08:23] So I think what’s interesting is like what’s going to happen with this new crop of folks. But what I’m really interested in is what’s going to happen to the folks that have been there since 1966 pick up sticks. That’s what’s going to be interesting.

De’Ara [00:08:36] So Ayanna Pressley we know, she had this whirlwind freshman term. She was a part of the squad with AOC and Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar. She was a surrogate for Elizabeth Warren on top of all those things. And just, you know, given her time, you know, Boston City Council and everything she did there, you know, we kind of fell in love with Ayanna Pressley through all those things, but then also through her very personal sharing of stories around, you know, being a survivor of sexual assault, her battle with a disease that caused her to lose her hair. And she just has been this really source of pride and brazenness and boldness and truth. And she comes across as a sister girl, which obviously I love. So all these things to say, though, you know, she really is. And this is this article goes on and on to say it’s a really great profile that she is kind of poised to really be a leader and really to be an ally to this administration as it goes on to do all these things that Biden has set out to do. What does that mean for Ayanna Pressley? What does that mean in terms of her holding the Biden administration accountable? What does that mean for her as a very progressive member of Congress and having these close relationships to AOC etc? And so what is that balance of that relationship look like so that she’s seen as someone that’s helping the administration along, but she’s also not seen as an obstructionist when it comes to progressive issues? That one is just an interesting thing to see how that will all play out. I think just her alone and what she has done in Congress and she’s gotten there, but also what she plans to do now with this new term is really interesting, too, and really exciting. So planning to reintroduce legislation that would end qualified immunity. And we know, obviously, Sam and DeRay are experts on this, but a legal principle that makes it harder to sue police officers for their actions. She also has another proposal she seeks to pursue, which is to end the death penalty, another one to create new federal grants for states that commit to eliminating discriminatory school discipline policies, which we know pushes black girls out of school. And she also wants to make sure that there’s an equitable, you know, kind of distribution of vaccine and response to covid when it comes to communities of color. So one, exciting to see all these things that she wants to pursue. I think, again, it will be interesting. And I think what I was actually reminded of from reading this article is that she was a senior aide to Senator John Kerry. Kerry has been nominated to be Biden’s climate envoy. So I think that will be another interesting relationship that she’s able to leverage. You know, I think, again, I think it will be interesting to see how she balances this. And I’m excited to see how she does it because she is definitely politically savvy, but just wanted to bring it to the pod because one, you know, just thinks she’s, you know, kind of really fan club of Ayanna Presley. And so I wanted to bring that to the pod to just get your perspective on that.

DeRay [00:11:46] I love Ayanna, when I did my book tour, Ayanna I had just been elected and she actually facilitated the book tour in Boston.

DeRay [00:11:55] It was great. She was great. It was before she had been sworn in. It was so early. I’m excited to see what she can do moving forward, And the squad, it’s also cool that they have grown their numbers right. We think about Cori Bush. We think about the we think about Bowman we think about what it’s like that are progressive and even more progressive group is is starting to form in Congress?

DeRay [00:12:15] I am interested to see now that we get out of the Trump era and go into an administration, what can we all accomplish? Right. It’s like we have nailed the rhetoric. We and this isn’t about just Ayanna, but about the whole left right like we so much of the last four years is pushing back against Trump. It was harm reduction. It was risk mitigation, it was uncovering. And now we have a Biden administration. So what does it look like to actually have to push a Democrat to the left a little bit? What do you introduce and get past that actually helps states, you know, who are the actual content experts who are also elected? Right. Like people who understand the will of the people. How do we that’s one of the things that I was always intrigued by with AOC. She’s like, I was a waitress, right? Or like a bartender. You’re like, OK, cool. You think about Cori and her background. So I think the next four years will be telling about how we’re able to have progressive voices in a body that big, because, you know, for all the might of the squad, they are a handful of people in a much bigger institution. And this could go a couple of ways. You could either see like a small set of people, help everybody realize where they need to go. You could see the middle sort of push back on those people like you. You know, I’m interested to see what this looks like now that Trump is out of office.

Kaya [00:13:32] My news is from ProPublica. There’s an article called “Vaccinating Black Americans is Essential, But Key States Aren’t Doing the Work to Combat Hesitancy.” And this article was really interesting to me. As an African-American, I feel like I’m super clear about both the impacts of covid-19 on our particular community. African-Americans are being hospitalized for covid at three more than three times the rate of white Americans. And I’m also super clear about the fact that our communities are incredibly hesitant about the vaccine. And so the question is, now that we have the vaccine, how are we making sure that communities of color know what the upsides and downsides are and can make an informed decision when the CDC says that communities of color are critical population to vaccinate. But there doesn’t seem to be a concrete action plan to make sure that that happens. ProPublica looked at the distribution plans for the nine states with the most black residents in the United States. And the long story short is there’s no clear strategy. There’s no clear investment in figuring out how to overcome. The historic mistrust of the medical establishment and the high levels of skepticism about the vaccine, if you know black people, you know that we not really feeling this vaccine, right. We got Tuskegee in our head.

Kaya [00:15:14] I mean, this is not listen, this is not unfounded.

Kaya [00:15:17] This is a historical mistrust of the medical establishment that is rooted in unscrupulous medical experimentation. We got Tuskegee. We think about Henrietta Lacks and how they stole her cells. We think about the gynecological experimentation. The literally the field of gynecology is built on the exploitation of African-American women. Right. All of those things. It’s not just historical mistrust. There’s also current mistrust in that minorities receive lower quality health care than whites. Even when you adjust for age and race and income and whatnot, there’s mistrust of the government. There’s mistrust of hospitals, there’s mistrust of the pharmaceutical industry and their profit motives. And there is also a very small amount of African-Americans who are in medical research and in academia. And so we have general levels of distrust. In fact, while 25 percent of Americans are hesitant about the vaccine, 35 percent of African-Americans are hesitant, which means they will probably not take the vaccine. And so we have this situation where in the very same way that we watch the federal government fail to come up with a coordinated response to covid and left things up to the states, we’re seeing the same thing happen with the vaccine situation where the federal government has not actually created a coordinated vaccine dispersal plan. But they’re leaving it up to states and they’re leaving it up to states to make sure residents of color are vaccinated. But many states are just not there. They haven’t had the time to come up with the communications plan. State health departments have been underfunded and state health departments are the ones who’ve been managing this pandemic to date. And so haven’t had the time to sit down and figure out how do we message, how do we think about reaching communities of color differently. And so literally, they don’t have plans. In Texas, in Georgia and Illinois, there is literally no mention in the state plan about how they’re going to reach and reassure black residents. In California they say they’re going to have a public information campaign, but there’s no details as to how they’re going to outreach to black residents. There are lots of good ideas about how to do this right. You need a serious social media strategy. You need to partner with black influencers. You need to partner with churches, ministers, other trusted voices. But there are not a lot of states who have substantive plans around how they are going to actually deal with this. I will highlight, though, North Carolina and Virginia, who actually started preparing months ago to reassure residents about the vaccines. In North Carolina they created a committee with leaders from marginalized communities to guide the state’s overall response to the pandemic. And so that committee is actually advising on the messaging. That committee is doing a webinar for black religious leaders. I have said across all of my work in education and international education, the people closest to the problem often have the best solutions. And so when you engage these people from the beginning around how we solve this pandemic problem, of course, you would get state plans that are much more effective around how we’re going to get black Americans vaccinated. In Virginia, they’ve been hosting town hall meetings specifically for communities of color. They’ve also hired a company to monitor the spread of misinformation so they know where to target their efforts to get people to take the vaccine. The CDC has set aside six point five million dollars for a bunch of national organizations, but there’s not even information on whether or not those organizations have gotten the money or what their plans are. And so ultimately, what this is going to boil down to, Well, actually, before I tell you what it’s going to boil down to, let me also say that data collection is incomplete. So the CDC requires that states report on how they are vaccinating particular demographics, but in fact, because they have been underfunded, because they have not had the opportunity to pull all of this together, the CDC has no way of enforcing this, the race and ethnicity fields are not mandatory on many of these state vaccination registrations, and so we won’t know the data will be incomplete, the data will be incorrect. And ultimately, this is going to fall to trusted doctors, trusted community leaders in the black community to go out and talk to our people to explain why the speed with which this vaccination was developed is in part because of technological advances. There are black and brown leaders are going to have to take control of the messaging because states cannot they haven’t been equipped to. And so our people are in a dire situation. They have a healthy and a credible amount of skepticism. And if we don’t get the vaccine, we are more likely to die than other people. And so it’s now time for us to step up as a community, to not rely on state governments and clearly not the federal government to talk to our people about their concerns about this vaccine so that they can get what they need, so that we can save lives, save black lives.

De’Ara [00:21:18] Mm hmm.

Sam [00:21:20] So my news is a little bit out of left field. And it’s an article that I read a few days ago that really blew my mind. And it’s about China and in particular China. Its recent announcement that they are going to be expanding and investing in what’s called artificial rain enhancement rockets and technology. Now, rain enhancement might or weather modification technologies might sound like a conspiracy theory there, of course, something that is like in sci fi movies. But it turns out that China has been experimenting for decades now in the use of rockets and other technologies that can make it more or less likely for there to be rainfall. And this is a strategy that China has said that they will use to address issues like droughts and monsoons and to otherwise control or influence the weather in up to 60 percent of Chinese territory by 2025. So reading this article, I immediately wanted to look at some of the details and the research. It turns out that there is research that supports the idea that by sending or launching rockets into the sky, we have, quote unquote, cloud seeding technology. You can actually influence precipitation and rainfall and that the United States actually spent several decades starting in the 1950s, investing in this technology and even weaponized the technology in the Vietnam War. So wanted to bring this to the conversation because this just sounds like really wacky and wild and unrealistic. But it turns out that the Chinese government is investing at least one hundred and seventy five million dollars to bring this technology to scale in a way that could have huge impacts if it works on society and our ability to live in places that have a lot of rainfall or no rainfall at all and affect those things.

DeRay [00:23:22] So Sam this blew my mind. I didn’t know that cloud seeding was used in the Vietnam War, that the Department of Defense seeded clouds to extend the monsoon season along the Ho Chi Minh Trail during Operation Popeye from 1967 to 1972. And it was this idea of making mud, not war. And you’re right, when I first saw this, I was like, OK, conspiracy theory, they’re making rain. And then I was like, oh, my goodness. And, you know, it’s one of those things where, like, what are the downstream consequences of you making up the clouds? Like, what does that do to the ecosystem? I mean, I am interested in seeing how this plays out and like where they test it. That’s what I’m like. We are you all testing these clouds. Is it is it around poor people? Is it like what’s going on to figure out whether this is, like, safe to do? And I could see the testing being shady, but so I’m interested in learning more.

Kaya [00:24:15] I had two thoughts as I read this article. The first one was like, wow, who I like, who is thinking about cloud control and apparently China and us to right, like these are just kind of the things that you don’t really think about. But scientists are out here manipulating the whole entire environment. And, you know, John Q. Public has no idea about these things happening. The piece in the article where, you know, the Chinese government claimed a great success when they launched rain suppressing rockets to make sure that the Olympic. Opening ceremonies in Beijing where dry like, what? I mean is 2021, and I was today years old when I found out that that kind of weather manipulation was happening. Right. And I don’t think that people know about that. And I think that that is a huge part of the climate conversation that we should be having together. I think the other sort of very interesting thing to me was that whatever you might be doing for your country in terms of climate control ultimately has effects on surrounding areas. Right. Because all of you know, you don’t just control the clouds over China. In fact, other Asian countries, at least the article said, are concerned that China’s programs could negatively affect the monsoons and the regular rains that have fed their people for millennia. And so this idea of individual countries making decisions about how they want to affect climate and the environment, when in fact those decisions have an outsize impact on regions and in a variety of countries, was just something that, again, like I hadn’t thought about. And as we have climate conversations we have to talk about, it affects lots of people. And so whatever decisions we make, we have to make them collectively.

Kaya [00:26:25] We can’t make these kind of individual country decisions.

DeRay [00:26:29] My news is about the amputation epidemic. And my grandmother had diabetes for as long as I knew her. I don’t know when she actually was diagnosed to be diabetic, but my whole childhood, I can remember her taking insulin shots and like having to go get the little tin can that the needles were in and all this other stuff. And I came across this article about ProPublica, and it blew my mind in a lot of ways because I just didn’t know. But in some ways it felt all too familiar. So when I was reading. So the short version is that black people are more likely to have a limb amputated especially because of things like diabetes than other people. And here’s the thing. So let me just talk about the things that stuck with me. One is that despite all the advancements we’ve got in diabetes care, the rate of amputations across the country grew by 50 percent between 2009 and 2013, about one hundred and thirty thousand amputations a year, often in poor communities and underinsured or communities. Black people lose limbs at a rate three times higher than other people. And the article is actually a profile on a doctor whose whole thing is like, we don’t need to amputate people’s limbs like we can. Sometimes we might need to. But a lot of these cases are for a host of reasons that don’t require this. And, you know, of course, always trying to figure out like what structurally is at play here, like how does this happen? And it is stuff that you could imagine. Right. Some of it is around medical schools. So a lot of specialists aren’t qualified for national loan forgiveness. So it means that you have primary care dentists and psychiatrists who are private practice providers and they qualify for a national loan forgiveness. But you look at a whole host of other people, like diabetes specialists, endocrinologists who don’t qualify for national loan forgiveness. So there are medical specialists who have significant debt, who just aren’t really going into working in nonprofit or public facilities where a lot of impacted communities are. There is no mechanism that requires hospitals to engage in an alternative to amputation first. So, you know, you can imagine people who don’t have you know, I think about when I went to the doctor, my father didn’t really like have the doctor said something. He was like, OK, he wasn’t like, I don’t know, pushing back on the doctor. And there’s no requirement that they actually have to do anything differently or that they have to, like, offer a set of options. And there were so many structural things that I looked and I was like and of course, as you can imagine, general surgeons have a financial incentive to amputate because they don’t get paid to operate if they recommend saving a limb and you just look at it. So the article is fascinating, but the top line is that black people’s limbs are getting cut off prematurely, unnecessarily. There’s a set of people who are raising this to be an issue. And I’m interested to see what we do to fix it.

Sam [00:29:27] So I you know, this is new to me, but sadly not surprising and, you know, made me really reflect on all of the different ways, you know, even just over the course of this pod that we’ve become aware of new ways in which black people are being mistreated or harmed or in this case, having their limbs removed because of a set of structural and systemic and institutionally racist factors, which.

Sam [00:29:58] Are plain as day in this article, right, and you mentioned a number of them to DeRay, you know, just reading through things that I just didn’t even know were were barriers. So, you know, the law allows insurance providers not to cover the tests to screen for vascular disease in the legs. The federal government forgive student loans of some doctors in underserved areas, but not certain specialists. So the physician’s most critical to treating diabetic complications are in short supply. Policies written by hospitals, insurers and the government don’t require surgeons to consider lifesaving options before applying a blade, which actually, you know, is a parallel to policing where the law doesn’t require the police to use non-lethal force before killing somebody. It’s a completely different sector, a different industry, but, you know, similar problems, similar racism, similar disparities. And it’s black people who are bearing the brunt of this racism. And so, you know, it’s frustrating. It’s not surprising. And this has to be a focus of policy interventions and broader transformational change as well.

DeRay [00:31:03] Don’t go anywhere. More Pod Save the People’s coming. Pod Save the People is brought to you by Bombas actually makes the most comfortable socks in the history of feet.

DeRay [00:31:10] They’ve literally thought about every detail and I’m telling you, I didn’t know that there are different types of socks when, you know, Bobos, we had Bobos. “Bobos, They make your feet feel fine” Remember Bobos?

Kaya [00:31:21] What are Bobos?

DeRay [00:31:22] Bobos were like, the they cost $1.99.  Those were like the Socks with the stripe at the top. Those are like the coolest socks you could have. Those are like the only socks that weren’t, I don’t know, like those are the only socks that existed as a kid. And then there were Bombas.

Kaya [00:31:35] Ya’ll, let me tell you, I got some Bombas for Christmas. Thank you, Santa Claus. And these socks do more than keep your feet cozy. First of all, they feel like a massage, but they also help give back to the most vulnerable members of our community, because for every pair of socks you purchased, Bombas donates a pair to someone in need. The generosity of Bombas customers has allowed them to donate over 34 million pairs of socks and counting through their nationwide network of 3,000 plus giving partners.

DeRay [00:32:06] And the impact is more powerful than ever. To those experiencing homelessness, socks represent the dignity of putting on clean clothes, a small comfort that’s especially important right now.

Kaya [00:32:14] Give a pair when you buy a pair and get 20 percent off your first purchase at Bombas.com/PEOPLE. That’s BOMBAS.com/PEOPLE for 20 percent off of your first purchase. Bombas.com/PEOPLE.

DeRay [00:32:30] Pod Save the People is brought to you by Grove Collaborative. The New Year is finally here and many of us are ready for a fresh, clean start. Our sponsor, Grove Collaborative, wants to help you kick off your resolutions for a healthier home by making it easy to shop for natural household products. And let me tell you, I love Grove because it’s such an easy marketplace. And when I go there, I don’t have to worry about like going through three pages of stuff that actually is like ruining the environment and barely cleaning the house in the first place. Grove is the online marketplace for Sustainable Home Essentials, delivered it straight to your doorstep and it takes the guesswork out of going green. I love it because I needed some. I needed some some stuff for the kitchen. And I feel like all the stuff I could find in the store was like very I’m like, who? These chemicals. I don’t need all of that and Gove is great because I was able to find stuff that like was eco friendly. It would’nt make my apartment smell like bleach or something all day long and it cleans.

Kaya [00:33:22] join over two million households who have trusted Grove Collaborative to make their homes happier and healthier, plus shipping as fast and free on your first order. So make your home healthier this year and for a limited time. When our listeners go to Grove.co/PSTP, you’ll get a free Mrs. Myers gift set, plus free shipping with your first order. A thirty dollar value. But you have to use our special code.

Kaya [00:33:50] Go to Grove.co/PSTP to get this exclusive offer. That’s Grove.co/PSTP.

DeRay [00:34:03] And now I check in with Johnetta Elzie, also known as Netta. She gives us an update on what’s happening around the country with regard to the protests.

Netta [00:34:10] Hey, everybody, it’s me Netta. Thanks for tuning back in, and happy New Year!

Netta [00:34:15] I’m really, really excited. That is officially 2021. And I can truly say that I actually had a lovely New Year’s Eve. Covid kept me miles and miles away from my family.

Netta [00:34:26] But thanks to technology, I was able to face time with them and crack jokes and have my grandfather talk so wild to me telling me that he didn’t care.

Netta [00:34:36] It was New Year’s Eve where I was because I was living in the future and to call him back when it was midnight Central Standard Time. I don’t know anyone who like my grandfather, is truly the funniest guy I know. So any time that I’m able to talk to him, it’s always just me laughing.

Netta [00:34:54] And my grandmother and my aunt always ask him, what on earth did he just say? It’s a great time.

Netta [00:35:03] So super excited that I was able to at least feel some sort of time with my family on New Year’s Eve. I also have talked about my mother a lot on this show. I noticed. And she passed away almost seven years ago this January 31st from complications related to her battle with lupus.

Netta [00:35:25] So while January 1 is technically the New Year, consciously or subconsciously, my body naturally enters a state of mourning for my mother the entire month of January.

Netta [00:35:37] It’s definitely a pattern I’ve noticed.

Netta [00:35:40] You know, I just understand it right now. It’s just a tender time of year. Anybody else mourning? I get it.

Netta [00:35:47] I never imagined at any time in my life that I would be without my mother, definitely not at age 24, and absolutely did not see myself surviving in this world for seven years without her.

Netta [00:36:00] Seven is my favorite number.

Netta [00:36:02] It just always has been. It’s the number of completion. So on my mother’s 7th anniversary of her passing, I want to do something different and I plan to carry on the entire year by doing something once a month that we love to do together.

Netta [00:36:17] So I hereby declare that I have clearly been watching Bridgerton, I hereby declare that we will have more art created this year, more singing out loud and more writing. I just have to be more creative. My mother was super big on cultivating every talent that she’d spot that I even had. And so while I was just shrugging everything off, she really, really honed in on what I was passionate about, even when I didn’t even know I was passionate about it.

Netta [00:36:49] I want to do something different.

Netta [00:36:52] And so with year seven, without my mom and entering year thirty two for my own self, I truly have to make the best of this year. I don’t know where this sudden sprout of optimism came from, but I’m here for it. So cheers. Now on to the news.

Netta [00:37:11] After decades of polluting the environment and occupying sacred land, the so-called Navajo Generating Station on the Utah Arizona border is no more. The seven hundred seventy five foot.

Netta [00:37:24] Smokestack is the largest one in the West. It was demolished in December of twenty twenty.

Netta [00:37:31] “The demolition of the smokestacks at NGS is a solemn event,” said Nicole Horsehorder, executive director of a Navajo environmental grassroots group based out of Arizona.

Netta [00:37:42] And while the majority of the plant’s employees were from the Navajo and Hopi tribes, their health was definitely affected. Millions of tons of greenhouse gases have been polluting the air since the 1990s. The soon to be former owners of the land, the Salt River project, must clean and restore the land before it’s turned over to the Navajo Nation. Solar and wind projects could be on the horizon, but for now it’s clean up time. And so. Well, them boys, yes, the Proud Boys are supposedly returning to D.C. on the set with plans to allegedly blend in with counter protesters and try to cause chaos. Go home, Roger.

Netta [00:38:27] In the words of Tia and Tamara. Hotel Harington plans to close for a few days to prevent the rowdy bunch of man children from staying there like they’ve done in the past. January 6th For those who don’t know, is the day when Congress will count the electoral votes and declare Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the next president and vice president elect, because, well, the votes and math equals byeTrump. So in the past, the rallies have turned violent. People were stabbed. Black Lives Matter banners have been burned.

Netta [00:38:59] And yet the Trump administration continues to give them permits gather.

Netta [00:39:05] We will see what happens on the 6th. I truly, truly hope that what is expected to go down does not. But we will see.

Netta [00:39:15] In closing, I spent New Year’s Eve with one of my five people in my quarantine bubble. And of course, I hung out with little Saige at midnight. She got in her first fight.

Netta [00:39:27] Well, it was more like a little puppy fight with a little Shizu and oh my goodness, it just really didn’t go the way that I expected it to go.

Netta [00:39:34] But it happened. And I just got to say, she got it from her mama. You know, I don’t mind getting a little scrappy sometimes. So besides Saige’s little tussle, my New Year’s Eve was really calm.

Netta [00:39:47] My friend and I spent a lot of time reflecting on what blessings in abundance came into our lives in twenty twenty and what we were actually thankful for and what we learned from last year.

Netta [00:39:58] I did realize that sheer willpower and a whole lot of sick and tired of being sick and tired changed the entire trajectory of where I thought my life is going. Covid caused me to seriously stop and think about where and who I wanted to be.

Netta [00:40:13] Truly, only an out of this world event, a wild experience like a global pandemic could have allowed me the time to change my course of direction I took a leap of faith. And wow, I’m really actually very happy that I did that. One leap of faith led me to so many more opportunities, including being able to come and talk to you every week.

Netta [00:40:38] Please know, I’m forever grateful to be able to talk and share with you each week. So that talk to you later. Bye.

DeRay [00:40:46] Hey, you’re listening to Pod Save the People. Don’t go anywhere. There’s more to come. Pod Save the People is brought to you by Sunbasket. You can skip the grocery store and have delicious meals full of organic fresh produce delivered straight to door. Now, as somebody who cannot cook Sunbasket’s, great, because everything comes ready to be put it. I got to figure out myself what the portion thing’s supposed to look like or how much of this is supposed to be there. That’s what’s actually great in getting dinner on the table quickly Doesn’t have to mean sacrificing nutrition and quality because with Sunbasket you can actually have it all every single day.

Kaya [00:41:19] Ya’ll, I’m a believer this week, lemongrass steak and lettuce cups with pickled vegetables, chicken parm burgers with seared Caesar salad and chicken piccata over zucchini noodles.

Kaya [00:41:33] Good. Sunbasket delivers fresh, healthy, delicious meals straight to your door. They have delicious recipes for all kind of diet preferences, including paleo, gluten free, Mediterranean vegetarian and more. And they make it easy. And coming in with everything proportioned and ready to prep and cook, you can enjoy a dinner full of organic, fresh produce and clean ingredients, some in as little as 15 minutes.

Kaya [00:42:00] No matter how much experience you have in the kitcen.

DeRay [00:42:03] Each week, Sunbasket offers a wide range of meals to choose from so you can try mouthwatering dishes like Catalan chicken with green romesco and Spanish green beans, black angus ribeye’s with leeks and warm caper and tarragon, pineapple, fried rice, with tofu water chestnuts and Kimchi. You can do a lot. It’s a lot here and there. You know what’s cool with Sunbasket too is that there’s some stuff that I probably would never, I don’t know, get at a restaurant or whatever. But I can get it here and I can actually season it to my liking, which is perfect.

Kaya [00:42:32] Last night I had the lemongrass steak lettuce cups with pickled vegetables. It might have taken me 20 minutes tops to make this whole entire thing.

Kaya [00:42:40] And it was so. Oh, good.

Kaya [00:42:43] Oh, my gosh, in fact tonight is going to be chicken parm burgers with seared Caesar salad. Don’t look for me because I made this thing and go right to sleep. I mean, you need to get Sunbasket because right now Sunbasket is offering thirty five dollars off your order. When you go to Sunbasket.com/PSTP and enter promo code, PSTP at checkout. That’s Sunbasket.com/PSTP and enter promo code PSTP at checkout for thirty five dollars off your order. Sunbasket.comPSTP and enter promo code, PSTP.

DeRay [00:43:24] Pod Save the People is brought to you by Betterhelp. What interferes with your happiness?

DeRay [00:43:28] Twenty twenty was a lot and this has been a time where we all need a little help. And for me it starts around these questions of like what is getting in the way of my happiness, what is stopping me from achieving my goals in my stock, like what does I look like? And Betterhelp is here to help you get through.

Kaya [00:43:45] Betterhelp will assess your needs and match with your own licensed professional therapist. Connect in a safe and private online environment is so convenient you can start communicating in under 24 hours. And it’s not self-help. It’s Professional counseling.

DeRay [00:44:01] Send a message to your counselor any time you’ll get timely and thoughtful responses, plus you can get a weekly video or phone sessions, all without ever having to sit in an uncomfortable waiting room.

Kaya [00:44:10] Betterhelp is committed to facilitating great therapeutic matches, so they make it easy and free to change counselors if needed. It’s more affordable than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available. The services available for clients worldwide. And there’s a broad range of expertize available which may not be locally available in many areas.

DeRay [00:44:32] Licensed professional counselors are specialized in depression, stress, anxiety, relationship sleeping, trauma, anger, family issues, LGBTQ issues, grief and self-esteem.

Kaya [00:44:43] Anything you share is confidential. It’s convenient, it’s professional, it’s affordable. And you can check out the testimonials posted daily on our Web site. In fact, so many people have been using Betterhelp that they’re recruiting additional counselors in all 50 states.

DeRay [00:44:59] I want you to start living a happier life today. As a listener You’ll get 10 percent off your first month by visiting our sponsor and Betterhelp.com/PEOPLE. Join over one million people have taken charge them mental health. Again, that’s Betterhelp, HELP, .com/PEOPLE. James Dykman and Ogi Martin are two of the organizers behind Fix SAPD, an organization committed to repealing chapters 143 and 174 of the Texas local government code. Their fight involves removing police protections and increasing accountability for a city whose police union has been covering up issues for way too long. Here we go. Ogi and James, thanks so much for joining us today on Pod Save the People!

James Dykman [00:45:37] Thank you so much for having us.

DeRay [00:45:38] So let’s just jump in to the work that we met because of police unions. You know, we have been doing police work for a while and San Antonio has a particularly bad set of laws and policies around police accountability. And you all are organizing around that. Can you talk about how you got to this work? Like how did you get to sort of the structural work of policing and what is that work for you?

Oji Marten [00:46:01] For us, this journey started right after the death of George Floyd, you know, in wallowing in our sorrows, like most Americans sitting on the couch looking at this morning, what the heck is going on and what do I need to do to stop this or improve life in America? For us in San Antonio, it looked like these two sets of laws, one forty three and one seventy four really were a roadblock to any possible police reform because it’s been tried before. I you hear them saying, let’s take away no knock warrants, let’s have the police officer play basketball with the kids, let’s do all this police reform things. But yet it’s not working because clearly people are still, you know, their lives are still being taken away and there’s still lack of accountability. And that’s really where it stems from, this lack of accountability in our police system. And we started to look into ways that that we can effect change in that aspect. And that’s where one forty three and one seventy four were found. And we looked at it and realized that these two laws really they have subsections within them that literally say a police officer can get away with not doing the right thing, which is so simple.

Oji Marten [00:47:27] It’s so simple. If we can have our police officers do the right thing, if we could have a structure to which that they are held accountable when they don’t do the right thing, we would be able to see true, lasting, successful reform.

James Dykman [00:47:44] That’s a perfect summation. And pretty much my activism in this field, especially with police contracts, started with Campaign zero and the work that Campaign Zero had done around police union contracts. And I remember back in February, I was really interested, especially during the Martin Luther King marches that we have here in San Antonio about focusing on the contract for twenty twenty one, because that’s when those negotiations were coming up again about a year from that point. So I wanted to kind of feel, OK, how do we do this? How do we get involved? I try to talk to other people in San Antonio who had worked on that in twenty sixteen. A lot of them have moved away. It was hard. And then I found myself at an organizer meeting and Oji comes in. She’s coming in with these great energy. And instead of talking about negotiations, she’s like, you know what, we could just get rid of this. We can just take this all the way and really just move beyond what we have with one seventy four and one forty three. And I was just I was blown away, so I was able to to jump on board and really be able to bring in, you know, especially with the data that we do our data trying to uncover all the indefinite suspensions. We’ve been able to create the most comprehensive database on indefinite suspensions in San Antonio’s police department in the nation. Right. And unfortunately, like many other police departments, they just didn’t collect the data. So it was up to us to make that. So that’s really where our efforts have come in. And like Oji said, it really does come down to they keep saying they’re going to reform these laws, they can change these laws, we can fix these things. We can use, you know, one seventy four to change things that just it doesn’t happen. And the unions come out saying, you know, the police associations come out saying, no, we’re not we’re not going to do this. We have these states rights. You know, this is our rights. And it’s like, all right, we’ve given you chance after chance. This is the last straw. You know, that’s really what it is.

DeRay [00:49:26] So for people who don’t know that San Antonio has one of the highest rehire rates in the United States. So when officers get fired in San Antonio, the vast majority get rehired. Can you help us understand? You talk about one forty three and one seventy four. What is that?

James Dykman [00:49:40] So one forty three are civil service rules. Right. So they outline kind of how a commission is built to make rules around policing and firefighters. You know, we like to always say we’re specifying on police officers and this. But one forty three pertains to both those public safety provisions. You can actually vote on them separately. We are voting just on the police side and one forty three really sets out disciplinary aspects in the background. So for example, in one hundred and eighty day statute of limitation for being able to investigate officers, this is like Matthew Luckhurst who had the crap sandwhich that he gave to that homeless man and the arbitrator returned him in that case because they couldn’t determine if it was one hundred eighty days outside or inside that that time frame. So they returned him on a fact basis, which is what you would want. But we find that that one hundred eighty days and there you have the file, which restricts your access to officers, personnel records, almost impenetrable in many cases. And then you have the arbitration clause, which is kind of our biggest target there, which is essentially overturning the will of the police chief through subjective means. Right. You’ve got Tim Garcia, who called an individual who was being arrested. The man asked, why am I being arrested? Tim Garcia told him, well, because you’re and f’ing N-word. Right? And the arbitrator said, well, we don’t think this is indicative of racist behavior and overturned because he thought that the police chief was being too severe. And so it really does come down to arbitrators are subjective. It takes a lot of time, a lot of cost. So the chief ends up settling and and Oji, if you want to tackle one seventy four there.

Oji Marten [00:51:16] All right. So one seventy four really is the collective bargaining aspect of the police union contract. That’s what allows for them to be able to meet with the city and come up with this contract. And what we found is that through the contract, the police union has been able to, I would say, hijack public safety and make it all about their needs as opposed to the needs of the city. Oftentimes, they would say within that contract is where things can be resolved. And it’s probably sporadically more frustrating because, yes, it can be resolved within the police union contract. But that’s not what the police union has done with the contract. What they have done is basically copied and pasted what James just talked about in one forty three and pasted it onto the police union contract when when the city goes and says, hey, while they’re at the negotiating table, says, hey, let’s remove those disciplinary barriers they have in the past, come back with, well, you’re going to have to give us more money in order to remove one hundred and eighty days stipulation on statutes of limitation on discipline, in order to remove the forty eight hours notice that an officer must get before he’s even questioned in a in an incident against him, meaning he gets all the evidence in the case, he gets all the eyewitness statements, the videotape, the recording. He knows where the eyewitness’ live and he gets all that information with the lawyer to look over it for 48 hours. Will the union release that? Will they remove that disciplinary barrier? No, they they have said they will not start negotiations there. They will not remove the idea that officers records are expunged after two years. They will not remove the idea of having a more better way for four people to to report misconduct time and time again, that these issues have been brought up to them.

Oji Marten [00:53:15] They have said no. They have said give us more money. They have said that is not a topic for discussion. In San Antonio. It seems that that is the topic of discussion for the citizens during these negotiations.

Oji Marten [00:53:29] These issues, these key issues have been put on the back burner, have been put to the back of the line. And our mission at Fix SAPD is to fix that. We want to bring these issues to the front of the line because that’s what San Antonio wants to talk about and that’s where our energy wants to go in our next as we approach the next contract negotiations, we know they will not negotiate in good faith because they have everything they could ever want. In one forty three, they could fix it in one seventy four and they say no. So if you, if they can’t do it, if they can’t in good faith do that, then we have to take it upon ourselves as citizens and say, all right, you don’t get to play with this anymore.

DeRay [00:54:10] Can you talk about like a couple of things. One is, as you organize around this, what we find is that people don’t even know. Right. People literally like I didn’t know this was a thing, you know, like I had no clue. Is that what you find in San Antonio? And if so, like, what do people say when you’re like, did you know that? Or are they like, who cares? Are they like, this is crazy? Like, what is what is it?

James Dykman [00:54:31] You know, when we were out during early voting and on Election Day getting signatures, when when you pitch this to people being like, hey, this is a petition for police accountability, people had a great appetite for it. Right. Like they were really like, oh, what do you mean by police accountability? What do you want to do with that? And when you talked with them about how these laws are essentially undermining our ability to hold officers accountable, either from the perspective of the chief being able to hold his officers accountable, or so many officers coming back to the force for egregious behavior, we really found that some people really understood this as, OK, I just needed a little bit more education. Some people don’t know they really need to take time. They were like, I want to go to your website. I want to figure this out. I want to read the chapters. Some people love to do that, and then we really do find that in some areas there are people who they see any conversation about police accountability, as you know, being against the police.

James Dykman [00:55:24] Right. Like I’m for my police department. I got that sometimes when we were talking to voters like police accountability, and they were like, no, I’m for the police. And then they would walk on and I was like, oh, OK. And so that was really the strange environment that you would get for most of it. I mean, the energy was really great at the polls, at least that we were finding. But it is an information game and that is something that we’re trying to play. We have to get the information out more and that obviously takes time and resources, money in order to be able to get that message out and talk to people and let people know. But we did have a poll by Bare Facts, which is a local poll here that did find that when asked about repealing collective bargaining rights for police officers and then also changing internal affairs, it was about a sixty five percent support for that effort that really did show us that there was good energy here, that there was a directive that we could take moving forward. And we just had to capitalize on that energy because we didn’t want to lose that sixty five percent or get the message hijacked by the San Antonio Police Officers Association, which is the police union here in San Antonio.

DeRay [00:56:28] So talk us through the process. How do you take away these two sections? And what do you say to people who are like, OK, we sort of get it, but but like, you’re actually going to open up an attack on all unions, right? That’s like one of the things that I hear a lot now.

Oji Marten [00:56:41] I kind of want to address the attack on all unions first, because unlike other unions, they do not have the protections that are guaranteed to them under one seventy four as it is for the four police officers here in San Antonio. Usually unions, when they collectively bargain, they bargain for a pension benefits, compensation, those kinds of things. That’s what is at the forefront of their negotiations. However, that does not seem to be the case with police officers, unions in general, but more so in San Antonio. What they care about is protecting problematic officers.

Oji Marten [00:57:25] We I can say that Fix SAPD is not against unions or collective bargaining. However, the practice of Chapter one forty seve,n one seventy four I’m sorry, gives police unions the power to basically impede justice. The lengths that they go to to undermine accountability in our public safety system does not protect your members.

Oji Marten [00:57:49] And it certainly is not protecting the city. Under these contracts that they’ve been able to to create they have basically limited officers interrogations. The limit I told you about, the 48 hour issue with officers can have the evidence for 48 hours. The law basically mandates the destruction of disciplinary records so we can’t hold them accountable for their actions. We can’t keep record of their actions. And when we can investigate them, the law says we only have six months to the date to do so. That is not what other unions are talking about. Other unions stick to compensation benefits and how to better their their members not hurt them because that’s what this is doing. It’s hurting them. When your officers can’t report an issue with other officers anonymously, that’s not helpful to your members, that does not keep them safe. That does not keep the city they work in safe. So it’s a disservice to other unions when we allow the police unions to operate and practice in this way.

James Dykman [00:59:02] It is very odd to see that police unions often support legislatures that undermine other union and labor rights. And this happens pretty consistently. And you can see that actually here in San Antonio as well, they’ll support lawmakers who will actually on AFL-CIO own website. They have ratings of different lawmakers. And you’ll see that many of these police unions and associations, as well as support here, is endorsing individuals who have consistently have a record under, I think like 20 percent by AFL-CIO rating. So in that argument, it’s very odd. We would want to say, oh, we’re against unions. But at the same time, the union that they seem to be defending or some people are defending has undermined others so consistently every single time.

Oji Marten [00:59:52] The police union always eats first before anyone else. That’s what it is.

DeRay [00:59:56] That is a, that’s not a line. I don’t know what is, the police union always eats first. Go ahead, Oji over here preaching. And that’s true. So talk about your path to winning.

DeRay [01:00:06] How do you how do you get to a win?

Oji Marten [01:00:07] The laws state themselves. After after you read all the crazy subsections, it says hey, listen, reader, now you’ve gotten to the end of this, if you don’t feel comfortable with any of the aforementioned barriers, if you don’t feel comfortable with any of the things that we just listed, you can do away with it. All you have to do is get the people of the municipality to which these laws affect to sign a petition after they have signed the correct number of petitions. You may submit that to the city and then the city will now put these laws up for a referendum, for a vote for repeal or keep. And that’s exactly what we have done. We have said let the people decide if you want to keep this law from nineteen forty seven, that eradicates and dissolves accountability. You can keep it. However, if you think this is the time to make a change, if you think this is the time to repeal these laws, you can repeal it. And nobody, no city manager, no mayor, no elected official can change your voice. Your vote and literally your vote. It counts. And that’s what we’ve been working on. So one seventy four requires about twenty thousand signatures to get it placed on the next ballot. And one forty three requires eighty thousand signatures. And how these numbers come about is that for one seventy four, it requires five percent of eligible San Antonio voters that voted in the last election, while one forty three requires 10 percent. And so that’s where you get that discrepancy in the numbers that that they’re asking for it for the signatures and our team You also I just want to add, you also have one hundred and eighty days to get these signatures. Keep in mind, they must be San Antonio verified voters. And I kind of want to circle back to a question you asked about how people are feeling when we bring this up to them.

Oji Marten [01:02:16] They are excited in San Antonio. I was actually shocked as to how many people already knew what was going on in their city, but just didn’t know how to fix it. Every time I would bring up a petition, someone would say, it’s the union. They’re the ones doing this it’s the, before I even say the word, it’s suppose we call them the here. But San Antonio Police Officers Association, it’s them. They’re the ones. I was like, you got a girl signed up.

DeRay [01:02:45] Yes, you’re right. You’re right.

Oji Marten [01:02:48] Police officers have signed this petition.  Present Police officers.

DeRay [01:02:51] No, really?

Oji Marten [01:02:51] Yes! because it’s that crazy.

Oji Marten [01:02:55] What what, a police officer told me I had to ask to be moved to a different partner because my current partner was going to get us on CNN and have me looking crazy?

Oji Marten [01:03:10] This is not a it’s not a joke anymore. It’s they see that this is is not where the city needs to be. The police in San Antonio, they’re not where they need to be. They are not accountable for their actions. And it’s hurting police officers alike along with other citizens. And when I hear stories, we did a drive thru petition in the west side of San Antonio when they came through.

Oji Marten [01:03:39] And they they would we would tell them what we were doing. They would say, oh, my gosh, it would actually stop and tell stories of their mother, of their brother, of their sister.

Oji Marten [01:03:48] And it was just so heartfelt that this city, they just needed an answer. They’ve been going through this alone and they didn’t know how to fix it. And I am so glad for our team. I’m so glad for the work they’ve been doing to do this for our city, because if not, they would have gone another decade. They would have gone another decade not knowing that there was a way out of this mess. And it’s been very humbling.

Oji Marten [01:04:18] And it’s also just been surprising and I thought would have to be like, OK, here’s how it works. This is what happens. No, some of them or they already know and they’re ready to do the work to get us there. And it’s all they have to do is sign it. And come May, twenty, twenty one, they get to vote for the first time in decades. And whats it, over since nineteen forty seven y’all.

James Dykman [01:04:41] Yeah. To bring that in with one forty three back in nineteen forty seven before the Voting Rights Act and one seventy four before single member district voting here in San Antonio.

James Dykman [01:04:53] It’s just insane that we haven’t been able to have a new look at policing before. We had enfranchisement in this city for, you know, against voter suppression. It’s just it’s ridiculous that it’s been going on for, what, eighty years now or seventy years now for one law and almost fifty years for another. And it is you know, it’s time, you know, and that’s really why I love this group, is it brought that opportunity to be like, you want 21st century policing. You want to be able to do something, you want change. We can give it to you. Now, we don’t have to go through any politician. You know, you don’t need to be like trying to get somebody to negotiate something for you at the table to talk to your city council. You’re like, no, this is me is what I’m doing.

Oji Marten [01:05:34] Power to the people like this is just pure, unadulterated power to the people as it gets.

DeRay [01:05:42] So has SAPOA come out and called you are everything but a child of God has that been?

James Dykman [01:05:49] They have their you know, I follow them on Twitter. You know, it’s fun just to see their posts. Their slogan is repeal equals defund. Right. They’re doing everything in the world to kind of attach us to different things or or do the scary images or saying, well, crime is going up in San Antonio. If you repeal what will happen there.

James Dykman [01:06:08] I mean, it’s been the gambit. It’s been everything you expect from them and more.

Oji Marten [01:06:12] But, a comeback to that is that while they were having their blown up, poor made signs that says don’t repeal you’re defunding the police, we have pictures of people signing our petition in front of their signs. Then when they realized that just having the signs, there weren’t enough, they had people holding the signs. And we still have pictures of people signing the petition in front of the people holding the signs. And then when they told their people, you’re going to have to do better than that, interject while they’re trying to get those petitions, I throw yourself in between that petition page and the person they’re talking to, and they try that, too. And I was there when one of the the SAPOA supporters were saying, hey, you know what you’re signing. Don’t sign that you’re going to defund the police. And this man whipped around and looked at that person and he says, I know exactly what I’m signing.

DeRay [01:07:06] Go ahead, go ahead. He said, don’t play with me. Don’t play with me,.

Oji Marten [01:07:11] Please.

Oji Marten [01:07:12] When servicemen and women are signing in front of them in front o They’re back the blue don’t repeal, don’t defund sign, which is not what we’re about, those service members are signing right there in front of their faces. We have those pictures. So it’s just they are trying everything. I’m from a different country. So they’ll say, like online. They’ll say, you go back to your country. I’m from Nigeria. They’ll say things like that. But it’s wonderful to see the support we have in San Antonio because I don’t have to say anything San Antonio’s like. Step back,.

James Dykman [01:07:46] Hand me the clipboard,.

Oji Marten [01:07:47] Hand me the clipboard. We know exactly what we are signing. So.

DeRay [01:07:52] That’s exciting.

Oji Marten [01:07:53] Yes, it really has.

DeRay [01:07:55] That’s exciting.

DeRay [01:07:56] Now, you San Antonio police were just in the news recently, if I remember correctly, because there was someone that there was like a Ring camera that that captures something on footage. Can you tell us about it? Tell us what happened. Tell us how that relates to your work.

James Dykman [01:08:09] Yes. So that was Zekee Rayford. If I’m if I remember correctly, he’s only 18. He was outside his house. That was up northeast from here. So that’s up in Schertz and that, I mean, horrified the nation. I mean, I know the reporter who did that for the Express News, an incredible article exposing that horrendous behavior by the police. And it is one of those things that on our end, you know, we realize that by focusing on these laws, by changing these laws, by showing members of the community that you can repeal these laws, that you can get energy behind taking away these laws that protect these officers that are going to go out, what are you going to abuse their power. And many of these instances, just like they did in Schertz, they’re going to be abusing their power, that if you really want justice and you really want accountability, you can’t be having these barriers up to them. That’s one forty three. One seventy four. We know there are many cities around Texas. You know Austin has one forty three but doesn’t have one seventy four. You know, Dallas doesn’t have either of them. They have meet and confer one forty seven. So when we see things like what happened to Zekee, when we see people in our own community. Right, when we see Marques Jones, Charles Roundtree, when we see Darrell Zemault Sr. Individuals that have just suffered and their lives have been taken by the police and we want accountability, we have found that the city council, the mayor’s office, city attorney, chief of police, they want to say these great things. Oh, yeah. Well, we’ll take away all these things. Well, you know, ban no knock warrants will really make sure that we have our body cam footage ready for to be produced. And that’s great. But the problem is, once all of that is out in the open and you have all those rules that have been broken, can an arbitrator just come back and overturn the chief of police right there?

James Dykman [01:09:54] Or can they just say, well, the cheif is like, well, I don’t know if you know of an arbiter is going to do this. So I’m actually just going to do a settlement agreement so that they’re suspended for two years. So we really find that to pursue this justice and to make sure that officers know that there are consistent outcomes to their poor behavior and misconduct, you have to be able to repeal these laws.

Oji Marten [01:10:15] And to even add to that.

Oji Marten [01:10:17] So that case that happened was out in Schertz. And unfortunately, what we are some people would say, well, now Fix SAPD one forty three platform will only affect San Antonio. That’s where I try to also spread this little message.

Oji Marten [01:10:33] San Antonio was the birthplace, the basically where the bones and structure of police union contracts were created by Ron Delord. And that structure is what other unions use around this country. They use his playbook. And so we truly believe that here in San Antonio, we are able to effect this change and really bring about this repeal of these two laws. It will send a ripple effect throughout this nation. I’ve been able to kind of talk to a lot of people while out petitioning, and I’m so grateful for because I get a new perspective each time. And I was at the AT&T Center here in San Antonio during the early voting. I was collecting petitions and this man, while I was getting from a group, waited in line for and just waited there. And I collected from a group of six people or so. And I turned around and said, hey, you want to want to sign the petition? You heard what we’re talking about. You said, yes, I want to sign it. And I said, Are you a registered San Antonio voter? And he said, No, I’m not, but I need to sign this. I’m like, I couldn’t get him not to sign this. And I said, you know what, go ahead and sign this. He’s like, I need to sign it. Destroyed my family. We’re broken. We’re broken. I need to sign this. Even though he what he could not he was from Elmendorf, which is still kind of you get Schertz.

Oji Marten [01:11:55] There’s all these little towns around San Antonio. And it just showed just how how affected people are by police. We’re all affected. There’s no nook and cranny you can go to where you’re not safe. So I hear the story from this man and I go to the this is AT&T Center then I go to the north side of. Which is know you would say, the more affluent area of San Antonio and this woman about it, and it was I was just in a store and I was talking to her and she’s like, hey, I want to sign this. If she’s like, you know, probably in her 50s, like, you know, OK, I’m kind of curious. And she kept talking and she’s like, I got pulled over And the police were so rude to me. Just to give you the juxtapose.

DeRay [01:12:39] See? See?

Oji Marten [01:12:41] You know, this man is crying for his life and this woman is crying for a ticket.

Oji Marten [01:12:47] It was just they were so rude to her. And it’s just I’m big to low. Doesn’t matter. It’s there. Every single person is affected by this in some way somehow, which makes it just something we can all come together on and agree on. Like James said. Sixty five percent of the city already supports it.

Oji Marten [01:13:05] It’s clear. It’s clear. And we wish we could. We really wish that this would be the stepping stone, the ripple effect that would affect all these other cities that need this.

DeRay [01:13:16] What can listeners do?

Oji Marten [01:13:17] Listeners all over America listeners can go to FixSAPD.org To learn more about how one forty three and one seventy four affect the city of San Antonio’s policing, but also be able to kind of get a glimpse as to how the police associations around the country have such a powerful effect on their city’s public safety. And figure out what can you do in your city, are there laws, in your city that that look like one forty three and one seventy four, because it may not it may not be the same thing in outside of Texas, but there may be some way somewhere in there that you citizens would be able to take a shot at this to take a chance at this and and it may be out there for you. I would hope so. And other than that, we just would like you to share Fix SAPD’s message, donate to us to help this go in, because we’re doing this in a pandemic, y’all. It’s been a little tricky and we’ve been able to so far keep everyone healthy and safe. But it comes at a cost. And we really encourage donations from people like you to just help us see that through so that we make sure that everyone is doing this in the safest manner possible. We’ve been able to gather quite a bit of signatures. As you know, these laws require tons of signatures. And we are still we still have a long way to go.

Oji Marten [01:14:48] All the donations would definitely go towards our petition gathering efforts and come campaign. It would be very beneficial there as well. But for the most part, if anything you can do, just share the message, share the word that San Antonio is doing something here to change public safety.

DeRay [01:15:08] We consider your friends as a pod and can’t wait to have you back. So thanks for joining and I can’t wait to get an update.

Oji Marten [01:15:14] Thank you so, so much.

James Dykman [01:15:15] We can’t wait to update you.

DeRay [01:15:19] Well, that’s it. Thanks so much for tuning into Pod Save the People this week. Tell your friends to check it out, make sure that you rate it wherever you get your podcast, whether it’s Apple podcasts or somewhere else. And we’ll see you next week.

DeRay [01:15:30] Pod Save the People is a production of Crooked Media. It’s produced by Brock Wilbur and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our executive producer is Jessica Cordova Kramer and myself.  Special thanks to our weekly contributors Kaya Henderson, De’Ara Balenger and Sam Sinyangwe and our special contributor, Johnetta Elzie.

Pod Save The People