Reflections on Race - 'These aren't isolated incidents, this is a culture in America'
Nia Adams has lived all over the country - from Brooklyn to Las Vegas and now Long Island, where she has been for the last seven years. Adams is the community organizer for the Long Island Progressive Coalition, working with many issues including education and criminal justice.
Adams says she and her group have been out making their voices heard even before the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd - but she says now people are starting to listen.
"I went out as someone who was hurt and tired, and quite honestly, terrified, because up until that point, I hadn't left my house in three, four weeks," she says.
Adams says she was quarantining "very seriously" from the coronavirus, but following the deaths of Floyd and Taylor, it felt like a moment she had to go out.
Adams says she has anecdotes for all aspects across racism, colorism and sexism. She recalls in seventh grade when she says her school resource officer body slammed and handcuffed a friend's older brother.
When asked what she wants people to think of her, she says, "At bare minimum, they need to know that Black people matter. It's not a controversial statement."
Does Adams think she matters? "I personally know I matter, it's for the rest of the world to catch up and get with the program."
Adams also speaks about the case of Akbar Rogers, a man accusing Freeport Village police officers of brutality. She decries that the officers involved are still on the job, and that after a short news cycle, conversation on the subject faded.
"These aren't isolated incidents, this is a culture in America," she says.
When speaking on what she wants to see going forward, she talks about a culture shift not only on Long Island, but across the country.
"Ultimately, we need to defund the police. We invest entirely too much money into policing and not enough into the programs help alleviate crime, or what people deem as crime. So I feel like we should be allocating more funds to our schools, we have about 10 underfunded schools on Long Island alone."