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Published On: Wed, Jun 3rd, 2020

Holding Myself Accountable.

I have never said this publicly, but I was once going to be part of the NYPD.

Black Lives Matter Protester Holding A Sign That Says People Over Property.
People Over Property.
Photo by Mike Von

It was 1991, It was kind of a dream, but a misguided one. I came from a community that was marginalized during the crack wars. East New York Brooklyn had the worst murder rate in NYC, competing with Washington Heights. I saw many of my friends get lost between the triangle of the streets, incarceration, and death. I came from a place where it was hard to be a voice. I thought a badge and a gun would redeem me from my days in the streets. I would be an ally willing to listen to the people instead of brutalizing them.

Acknowledging the trauma of witnessing countless murders, addiction, and domestic violence in my daily life, I decided that I was not equipped to do the job with integrity. I stepped away just before my appointment, one of the best decisions I ever made.

Fast forward, 4 years later… I start my undergrad studies at SUNY College at Old Westbury where I started Sofrito For Your Soul in 1997. Just a year earlier, I became active in the struggle to get justice for Anthony Baez ,(a security guard who died immediately following an altercation with police on December 22, 1994) . Working with my late mentor, Richie Perez, Police brutality was the only social justice cause I was passionate about at the time. I consistently leveraged the website to raise awareness about this horrific legacy of Stolen Lives that the NYPD was creating.

My website’s original audience was comprised of college students/faculty, fraternities, sororities, artists, activists, and other community builders.

I WANT TO DO MORE!

That said, I have come to the realization that as a father of 4 Black children, I have not done enough to contribute to this movement. I have not done enough to leverage my (white passing) privilege in a way that shows the community at large that we are showing up the way they need me to. This is especially important to me considering that almost all of the cultural content we produce & promote has roots in African tradition.

It is time that I show up and love Black people as much as we love their culture. I will continue to find ways to actively support this fight. I will do so by leveraging my platform to share information in real-time, raise money to directly assist bail funds, and continue to learn, even if I stumble to help people understand that no lives matter until #BlackLivesMatter.

I am recommitting to this work.

As I am,

George Torres

Founder,

Sofrito For Your Soul

👨🏼‍🌾

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter for a real-time look at my #21dayjournal as the days go by. DM me if you want to connect.

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Please read this very detailed resource that Nancy Ruffin compiled.

#BlackLivesMatter: Resources for Dismantling Racism in America

Holding Myself Accountable.