By: Jennifer C. Sarrett

When Armani Sharpe was in the 3rd grade, he arrived at school one day to discover the teacher had rearranged the room. Although Armani had the same desk, the change in the arrangement of furniture confused him to an unusual degree. His distress at this change eventually led him to be diagnosed with autism.

Now, Armani is a 20 year old, 6’2” black man who enjoys being out in nature (even though he’s allergic to some trees…

How Rochester Officers Came to Pepper Spray a 9 Year Old Girl

Not even a year after the tragic killing of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester police, the City of Rochester released body cam footage of police officers restraining, handcuffing, and pepper spraying a 9-year-old girl. This incident is shocking and horrific. And it leads to several pressing questions, the most critical being: Why did adult, trained, police officers thinks it was okay to pepper spray a 9-year-old?

In order to understand this event, it must be placed into our social and historical context. The ways these officers treated this child can be traced to a social foundation created at…

Our language has moral baggage.

I think a lot about this. The words and phrases we choose don’t exist in a vacuum. They refer back in time, to events and attitudes that we do not necessarily choose when we use them in the present. Words and phrases have the power to shape our thoughts and perspectives, and for this reason we have a duty to think carefully about the way we speak.

I’m not exactly talking etymology, which traces the origins of the roots of words. For example, the etymology of the word ‘salary’ is that it is from the…

Seventeen naked protestors outside of Rochester, NY City Hall following the death of Daniel Prude. Image by Larrymoss~commonswiki

The Need for an Intersectional Approach to the Defund the Police Movement

Daniel Prude’s brother called police to help Daniel during a mental health crisis. The officers who responded, trained to quell and respond to violence from neurotypical people, hooded Daniel and kneeled on his back until he lost consciousness. A week later, he died.

This is yet another unnecessary death of a person with a psychiatric, developmental, or intellectual disability from a police interaction. It is also another death of a person of color in a moment of nationwide protests against racialized police killings. …

Jennifer Sarrett

Access, social justice, diversity, inclusion, ethics.

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