A Month in Review

The Future of Policing and Voting in the U.S.

By Andrew Weinzierl & Chloé Johnston

After the onset of quarantined continued far longer than anyone imagined, summer took on a different tone. What is ordinarily a time for regrouping or relaxing was transformed into a period of worldwide efforts calling for police reform.  

Sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May, every single state in the U.S. and several dozen countries worldwide called for an end to police brutality through public action. Calls for racial equity have sparked change in some cities, and it has increased tension in others.

As such a heated topic, BridgeUSA began to focus our efforts on the theme of policing, through August, in the hope to keep the conversation moving forward. As an organization, we held discussion events, featured prominent speakers to discuss the topic, and shared student perspectives, among much else.

Other chapters had also joined in the conversation by hosting discussions on the future of policing within their communities. BridgeKU, for instance, held an event on the right to speak and protest. BridgeBerkeley hosted Adama Iwu, Time Woman of the Year (2017), for a discussion on the role of students in activism and movements for change.

Across the pond, BridgeAfrica held an event on police brutality and reform with guest speaker George Kegoro, the Executive Director of the Kenya Human Rights Commission. Mr. Kegoro discussed the history of policing in Kenya and similarities in structures around the world. BridgeMaastricht, a chapter of BridgeEurope, partnered with students from BridgeUSA chapters to discuss comparative methods of policing. To read more from BridgeMaastricht click here.

More recently, we held a national event on policing, featuring a former police commander in Arizona, an attorney focused on poverty and community development, and the former Deputy AG of Maryland. Through a Q&A discussion, the panelists talked about how reform would present itself.

With the 2020 Presidential Election less than two months away, BridgeUSA will begin shifting the focus from discussing police reform to actionable change. Actionable change that can come about from voting. During a pandemic, when going to the polls can present a health risk, and ongoing debates around mail-in ballots, our country, and especially young people, face more barriers to voting than ever in 2020.

Our shift in topic kicked off on Tuesday, September 15th with a virtual discussion on the youth vote in 2020. The panelists Yael Bromberg, chief voting rights counsel of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, and Scott Kendall, a veteran voting rights attorney at Holmes, Weddle & Barcott, and former counsel to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and Chief of Staff to Alaska Governor Bill Walker.

The importance of voting has never been more relevant. In a time of social unrest, our opportunity to make a change is inextricably tied to the coming elections and our ability to vote. So, pull up a chair and let’s talk about it.

Stay tuned for more events and discussions!