I am writing this letter from a place of disgust and thirst for change. I’m a young female with a passion for social change and a desire to advocate. On Thursday Jan. 9, I’m willfully waiting for my laundry to finish while I sit outside the coin laundry on 11th Street, and that is when I see an officer from Tracy Police Department outside Grocery Outlet, with what I presume is his gun in his right hand. This intrigues me, as I continue to watch. Moments later, several other officers join him, guns steadily drawn. I find myself start to get nervous and my thoughts drift to a realm of different scenarios. Some time passes and very naturally, a young man of color exits the store with bright yellow bags in tote. He immediately drops his bags and puts his hands up, as if it were second nature. Unfortunately, his natural instinct has become a programmed response based on institutionalized oppression, as modeled before him through real life, social media and history. The cops handcuff him, guns still drawn. In my vision, cops surround him and look as if they are questioning him. I go back inside to finish my laundry, hoping that there was a reason for the several guns pulled on this young man. Twenty minutes pass and I look to my right (next to Pizza Hut) and there is that young man, yellow grocery bags in tote. Clearly, he wasn’t arrested or a threat to this community, as why else would they let him go. From my perspective, this young man was held at gunpoint for no reason. This is example of community-based trauma. I wonder to myself, if he was not a person of color, would the same tactile measures be used.
Amy Anglim, Tracy