Imagine a world where police help people instead of harming them.
A world where public safety means we can call on teams of de-escalation specialists, mental health experts and social workers to help us — instead of teams of armed police. A world where police prioritise help over handcuffs, prevention over punishment and life over death.
A world like this is possible. But only if people like us continue to use our collective power to make it so.
Some of you will have seen the tragic and unnecessary end to George Floyd’s life. Our karakia and thoughts are with his whānau and friends. Our thoughts are also with the three people who were shot and killed by police during the six month trial of armed police here in New Zealand. Like George Floyd, they were people of colour. And like George Floyd, their lives did not have to end.
Just as folks in the US are standing for justice and courageously calling for the end of racist policing, we stand for justice and the end of racist policing here too. As Martin Luther King Jr famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and we must do all that we can to stand in solidarity as we work for a future where all people everywhere are safe and free.
Earlier this year, ActionStation commissioned Māori Mermaid to create images that show another path is possible — one based on support, care and compassion instead of guns:
Now we are crowdfunding to take these powerful and important messages to the streets:
We are working hard to book highly prominent and strategic advertising spots as close as possible to police headquarters and stations. In Auckland and Christchurch, that means the CBD and in Wellington, it’s Molesworth Street. All of these areas have high foot traffic which means that our posters will serve the dual purpose of reaching police officers and bosses, and citizens and voters too.
Right now policing in Aotearoa is at a crucial turning point. Police are reviewing their deeply flawed trial of police roaming our communities with guns, and what reports have revealed over the last few days is that:
- More than anything else, police with guns were used for simple vehicle stops
- Of the people who police targeted during the trial, 50% were Māori and 11% were Pasifika
- In the first two months of the trial, police evaluation surveys were misused to the point that no valuable insights could be attained
- There was no serious engagement with Māori or Muslim communities before the trial
New Zealand Police effectively ran a dangerous and racist experiment and are now measuring its success with flawed data.
Our communities are strongest when we stand together to guarantee every one of us can live in peace and safety. That is not possible when police are armed with guns. New Zealand police must choose another path. Let’s illuminate it for them.
Click here to donate to our street poster campaign.
With thanks to Piet for volunteering his time to set up our mock-up street posters.