Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. John Crawford III. Levar Jones.
Their deaths — and those of too many others — illuminate the ghastly toll of racism and impunity. It’s a toll we can measure in lives lost, and in communities seared by violence.
But here’s a casualty you might have missed: trust. When people feel unfairly targeted by the police, when good cops fear reprisal from angry communities, trust — the invisible thread that holds livable communities together — unravels.
If we are going to get real about resilience in an age of climate change and other large-scale disruptions, trust looms large.
Think about it. If people don’t trust the authorities, will they pay attention when it’s time to evacuate? Will first responders venture into communities of color to rescue the most vulnerable? Will people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods join hands to rebuild?
It’s not just about climate-related disaster, either. If an epidemic is raging, will sick people remain quarantined, or will they flee and infect others? (That’s what has happened during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, where people’s reasons to distrust the authorities could fill an encyclopedia.)
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