Across the country this year, including in Milwaukee, protests over the treatment of Black people has taken center stage. While the police killing of George Floyd was the catalyst, some in Milwaukee have had concerns for decades about policing and the value of Black lives here. Protests in Milwaukee have now surpassed 200 days. Still, questions remain about the progress that’s been made.
Reggie Jackson is the co-owner and lead consultant for Nurturing Diversity Partners, a diversity consulting firm. Jackson says whether or not you believe the protests have led to change depends on your perspective.
“Many of the reforms that we’re seeing are really not addressing, in a wholesale way, the real issues and as a result of that, I don’t see it as significant progress until I begin to see real changes being made on the legislative level and states and federally,” says Jackson.
He acknowledges that excitement over protests have been high, but he points out that many people were protesting for changes even before this year and significant changes for him have still not come.
Jackson says for progress to be made the overall violence of police conduct needs to be addressed.
“We have to really, fundamentally question why we support police officers being so violent. They call it use of deadly force, but to me it is just violence,” he says.
He sees the killing George Floyd as a tragic example of how police violence escalates situations.
“911 was called because of a counterfeit $20 bill. There’s no reason that a man should end up dead over that when the police arrive,” he says. “If we don’t make a fundamental shift in how we force police officers to do what they do, then nothing is really going to change.”