Essay by: Sierra Winger

Essay Subject: My good friend and professional cyclist David H. Sylvester has announced a new Hugs & High Fives Tour. This summer Dave will travel, on his bicycle, from San Bernardino, California to Philadelphia, PA. He will be stopping at many cities along the way.

The purpose of Dave’s tour is to motivate people to see the good in our society and to look for the possibilities in their own lives. Dave believes this is possible through the exchange of stories, talking about society, and Hugs & High Fives. One of David’s frequent topics is police brutality in our society and how everyone in our society must come together for peace to balance our civil rights.
If you can make it to one of Dave’s city, that would be great—he has plenty of hugs and high fives. Either way, please write an essay on the effect of police brutality on our society and suggestions for reducing social unrest in our society related to police actions.

My whole life I have always been intrigued in the law and what makes something right or wrong. In the third grade I was even elected to be the “class judge” where I settled the class disputes and conflicts among my peers and determined what/who was “ethically and morally” wrong in the given situation; whatever the verdict I came up with, the losing side would pay a “fee” with our fake money made by our teacher. In high school I became involved in Mock Trial where we are given cases and were put to trail against other schools in our region at our local court. This is where I learned the basics of law and our constitution all while being able to learn cases and dissect testimonies. I am now currently enrolled to be a junior in college at SDSU as a theater major and will be able to pick up a minor in criminal justice this coming fall. Being a theater major I am forced to really read and keep up with social issues around me. My goal is to pursue an activist theater community that strives to talk about and expose controversial topics through art. To take action and make a difference I believe the first step is to expose the problem. In today’s society we are far more capable than any other generation before due to our abundant amount of resources. In America, our first amendment is one that holds most worth to me as a citizen. It establishes freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition. Change is made when these five words are treated as actions and not nouns. One topic that really peeves me is police brutality in our society. In May, the Washington Post (1) analyzed 385 police shootings that occurred in 2015 which is more than twice the rate recorded by the government in the past decade. Another article by the Washington Post (2) recorded back in August reports that the Black minority group (that consists of 6% of the nations population) account for 40% of the unarmed citizens who were shot by police by this time. Of course there are plenty statics that can further these arguments, but my point being is that there is a problem, and we need to talk about it. What the unfortunate truth about our society today is that many people do not care unless it effects them personally. I think theater is a great way to expose topics with a story. Drawing people in with emotional ties to characters and learning how these statics are not just numbers but a people. People with a story that can not go unheard. Social Media is a great outlet many people run to when they have an opinion on something. As you can see with the up coming elections many people are not holding their tongues, which I absolutely love, whether I agree or disagree with the post, because it gives the people an outlet to express why they feel the way they feel. My idea to change these appalling statics around would be to expose the problem and get people to talk about the problem. By encouraging artists to produce films and plays and encouraging expressive art I think this will make people talk about their opinion on the issue. To get people mad, angry, offended and sad to understand the issue and take action on it. To show people that there is a problem and that Black Lives Matter. To make people understand that Black Lives Matter does not mean other lives don’t. To make people understand that discrimination is still very prevalent in our society today. To make people stop blinding themselves from the truth. Though I am white, I am a female minority, and I have had my fair share of discrimination because of my sex. However, what art has proven to me over the years is that you do not have to be a certain color, age, or sex to make a difference about a topic, and the topic at hand does not always have to directly affect you to make an effect. We are all human and we are all equal. This is why I think theater would be a great tool to get people talking. This art has shown me that not only is it OK not to be quiet, but rather its important not to be.


Article 1: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-police-shootings-in-2015-approaching-400-nationwide/2015/05/30/d322256a-058e-11e5-a428-c984eb077d4e_story.html

Article 2:http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/08/08/black-and-unarmed/


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