All Cops Are Bastards AKA All Cops Are (My) Brother
In a different world, we are all one, but here we have been positioned against one another for the sake of Capitalism & an American Dream turned Nightmare. I landed in the City of Rose Quartz hungover needing to replenish and center myself. My brother picked us up from the airport. I looked across the pavement as he waited behind his SUV with the trunk open waiting for our luggage. He said, “You travel light.” I laughed. I saw his eyes behind his mask and caught a glimmer of the hippie kid I knew growing up in the hills of Northeast LA. He smoked a lot of weed and talked to the heavens back then. He was a missionary and a firefighter amongst other generous titles because he is a giver. We started the drive to my mom’s house. It was quiet for about 3 seconds and then we started right in on the banter we have always carried between us. How’s it going? How’s life? How’s LA? How’s work?
We make our way off the freeway and into the heart of Portland as he tells me that they are on Day 49 of protests. Weaving our way through downtown, I catch the graffiti and echoes left in the air from the previous night. “They only protest at night here,” he said. I think, It’s like some kind of silent agreement or compromise. Everyone needs to rest, right?
I take a quick snapshot wanting to document this “America.”
In Los Angeles, I am quick to repost anything having to do with Social Justice, Black Lives Matter, Not One More, Say Her Name, Free Our Kids from Cages, etc. I copy and paste. I add a word here and there. I share the fire across the screen. In Portland, I take a step back and breathe. Maybe it’s the trees or the chants we have all been hearing for our dear brother George Floyd. I have another brother by that name, but that is a story for a different time.
My brother says, “It’s been rough,” while simultaneously exhaling. I can tell he’s been carrying so much. I listen. I have no words to comfort or understand. He chose one of the most progressive Police Departments in the United States for a reason, but our hopes for change dwindle under a system that was created to destroy us. Meanwhile, my friends and acquaintances back in Los Angeles say ACAB even your brother, dad, tio, etc, and I wince just a little because while I have shouted at the top of my lungs to FUCK THE POLICE, I don’t mean my brother. Contradictions. Dichotomy. Love. Hate. Them vs Us. Us vs Them.
Abolish the Police. Listen. Stay home, but get to the streets ASAP.
I have some beef with the Los Angeles Sheriffs but that too is another story for another time. It all feels so heavy yet staged at the same time. Trump sends in the Feds. People are being kidnapped. Is what we see on the screen real? My brother said, “Watch the videos carefully. Is the person being arrested resisting or playing a part?” I think, Is the constitution being rewritten under our nose? Is our freedom fleeing under these masks? Is this the 2012 we were all waiting for years ago?
The BLM protesters in Portland diverged from the protests being shared on screen for a reason. They have done work that is valid and worthy of attention without the ruckus of Anarchists deflecting from their cause.
Defund the Police. Take action. Sign this petition. Call this number. Tell Congress what they already know.
See our Black and Brown brothers and sisters dying in front of you and remember how lucky you are to be alive. Breathing. Fists Up. Questions without answers. Mothers saying enough is enough. They are no longer killing us softly. They are killing us in broad daylight while videotaping the scene. They equals an entity bigger than our screens. Television reruns of news gone violent, of code words, of brainwashed triggers. We are all dying from this silence. Systemic racism thrives and we are the targets. Run fast, Wild Wolf, before they catch up to your brilliance.
Ride loud. Turn the sirens on because we have all been caught without a warrant. This is the moment, don’t walk away from it. Turn inside because the seeds were planted in your walk, your glitter, your shine, your ebony skin, your mind, your everything. Red, White, and Blue equal blood, canvas, and sky. Create your life. There is no turning back from this flag of fallen brethren. These stars that shy away from the newborn’s sight. One born within a system of sin rebels against the norm. Create a storm. Tell them how and why it’s a shame to not love her, blazen torch across a sea of pain. Your ancestors made their way into our veins. Left ideas of fear across the plains. And now it is Covid wrapped in vain cause I no longer believe what you have to say. Big Brother, get away. It was foretold, you are they and they are to blame.
My brother showed me his uniform, full of paint splattered across black pants and boots meant to hurt you. He said, “They throw balloons full of piss and shit at us.” He said, “They shouted, ‘Choke on it.’” He said, “I get it.” He said, “We have to show up again and again.” He said, “I went to a homicide and then to check on a girl who had just lost some shit, her car.” Skipping stones don’t break my bones cause we gotta be present. He said, “I love you.” He said, “I love you.” He said, “I love you.”
He is a cop, he is my brother, he is my blood, he is brown and bleeds, he is not your version of ACAB!
Someone once said, “Change the system from the inside out.”
The only constant is change.
Don’t let them divide us.
Something is happening and we are the witnesses.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Iris De Anda a Guanaca Tapatia poet & speaker has been featured with KPFK Pacifica Radio, organized with Academy of American Poets, performed at Los Angeles Latino Book Festival, Feria del Libro TIjuana, and is named one of Today’s Revolutionary Women of Color. Author of Codeswitch: Fires from Mi Corazon.
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