10/06/2034 11:35 PM ET

RACE

Latinos Stand With Sovereign Black Neighborhoods

Hector Garcia
Latino Affairs Editor, Director of Latin Society For American Justice

CC BY 4.0 G8 / G20 Toronto 2010 Riot Police on Yonge St by Chris Huggins | Writer image: CC0 1.0 Image by Chiemsee2016 | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
When this is all you show us of your police, do you expect us to do anything but resist?
I think I know what I saw last night and today, but I still can’t believe I saw it.

This country that I love, where I have lived all my life, going to war against black citizens, who simply were trying to live their lives in their own neighborhoods.

If Sovereign Black is really just looking out for your own – and I believe it is – then what the cities of Philadelphia, Detroit and Cleveland are doing is simply declaring war on black families.

Much has been said before last night, about the "conflict" between Sovereign Blacks and Latino people, as though there is no common struggle to be had.

This is factually untrue. In fact, we know exactly what it is like to be policed by a majority white country with majority white police departments.

It can be a living hell. Many Latinos who live in the poorest suburbs are the frequent targets of heavily-armed officers, deploying shotguns, automatic weapons, kevlar vests and helmets. These guys aren’t here to protect and serve, they’re here for war.

We know this too well. We know what it’s like to be pulled over for being brown, what it’s like to walk past an officer who looks back at you, suggesting your guilt because you’re brown. We know what it’s like to be stereotyped in news bulletins, as though being Latino means we’re automatically criminals.

Racial profiling is part of our history too.

We are lumped in with the very worst our communities offer – drug dealers, rapists, murderers – and told not to be upset that we are identified with them just because we are Latino.

Our doors are kicked in, our property is damaged, and when the officer smirks at you before wishing you a nice day, and leaving you to clean up your apartment and explain to your child why they were just treated like that – you know that something has to be done.

For me, it was a police raid six years ago which opened my eyes. We were falsely incriminated and the officers smashed our door down. My wife was assaulted, I was assaulted, my little boy had a shotgun pointed at his face, and when it was over and they realized they had the wrong place there was not even an apology.

Can you blame some communities for wanting independence from this?

Some of us in the Hispanic communities in larger American cities have observed with interest the Sovereign Black Neighborhoods that our black brothers and sisters have been putting together. We have discussed doing the same thing.

We want to show solidarity with our black brothers and sisters, but also we need this. We need our own spaces to feel safe.

We feel their pains, especially today.
Correction/Broken Link?