Albany mayor, others talk racism, defunding police and more during virtual meeting

Mayor Dorough and others talk racism, defunding the police and more during virtual meeting

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Defunding the police and fighting against racism was on Albany and community leaders’ minds Thursday night.

A panel of about a dozen people, including Albany leaders like Mayor Bo Dorough and Police Chief Michael Persley spoke about defunding the police.

“When you take away, you have to replace it with something and you have to replace it fairly quickly,” said Persley.

Chief Michael Persley
Chief Michael Persley (Source: WALB)

“Absolutely oppose this proposal of what some people are calling ‘defunding the police,’ but there again we have to address the reality that this is a term with many meanings,” said Dorough.

James Pratt Jr. is a criminal justice professor at ASU and he broke down what the “defunding the police” movement is all about.

“So, the defunding the police movement is all about moving the funds to the places where we need them, right, so education, poverty all those kinds of things,” said Pratt.

James Pratt Jr.
James Pratt Jr. (Source: WALB)

Racism was also a topic talked about Thursday night in the virtual panel hosted by SOWEGA Rising. According to the group’s Facebook page, they are a nonprofit organization formed around activism and pushing movements forward.

Education was one of the organization’s suggestions for fighting against racial injustice, according to many of the panelists. They said movements and change will take time and believe all voices need to be collective right now.

Panelists said all types of people, especially white people, can help fight against racial injustice. They said right now, white allies have a role to play in the fight against racial injustice.

“By creating racial equity, not equality, we need equity. We need the same exact, the same opportunities but we also need to have the same resources and maybe even more resources to make those opportunities count,” said Kiana Jackson, an Albany native who is currently a student at John Hopkins University.

Kiana Jackson
Kiana Jackson (Source: WALB)

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