Activists call on leaders to defund the police, abolish prisons

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) Calls for justice and the end to police brutality in the Black community are continuing here in the Upstate.

On Friday morning community activists joined together and held a press conference in downtown Greenville calling on city leaders to defund law enforcement and abolish prisons.

Activists from Upstate Black Lives Matter, Upstate Abolition Project and Be That Chick emphasized the importance of eradicating the outdated form of policing, the need to replace them with counselors and specialized advocates.

Nwangaza said the practice of policing harms the Black community, especially when they are jailed for long periods of time for non-violent crimes.

“Black people are being killed at disproportionate rates. It’s in the best interest of the Black community that not only are human resources met but it’s met without the iron boot of law enforcement,” Efia Nwangaza, activist for Upstate Black Lives Matter, said.

Activists say the goal for defunding the police is to strip law enforcement of any form militarization and funding and instead use the money to meet the needs of communities with disparities, which could help to thwart violence.

“The greatest and most pervasive form of violence is poverty and ignorance, and police have no ability to address either one of them,” Nwangaza said.

Roughly $28 million of the Greenville City budget is allocated to public safety officers and activists instead want that money funneled into:

  • Education in majority Black and low-income districts
  • Low income housing that reflects income disparities in Black communities
  • Provide Avenues of Economic Justice and economic development for Black communities
  • Slavery Reparations

Funding for public safety in the city of Greenville is expected to increase by approx. $1 million for the 2021 fiscal year.

To learn more about what Defunding the Police means for the community, click here.

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