How to talk effectively about defunding the police

Many people recognize the long-standing problems of police using excessive violence — and treating racial and ethnic minorities unjustly.  Efforts to improve training and to adopt “reforms” have not significantly solved the problems.  Now many people are urging local governments to cut the budgets of police departments and use the savings to fund more effective nonviolent ways to provide public safety.

These efforts make good sense, but some of the talk about “defunding” the police causes some members of the public to feel afraid for their safety and to push back against these changes.  We can be more effective if we choose smart ways to tell the public about the problems and solutons.

A Quaker-based non-profit organization that works for peace, social justice and nonviolence is the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC, www.afsc.org).  They offer this advice about how to reach the public more effectively about this issue:

How to talk about defunding the police: Although many of us aren’t gathering in person with family and friends this holiday season, we still find ourselves having real—and sometimes difficult—discussions about the role of police in our communities. Here are some tips you can use to guide these conversations and build support for alternatives that create community safety for all.