Over the past week, we’ve come to understand that the phrase ‘Defund The Police’ is one that, for many, doesn’t start a conversation. It stops it.
Since sharing our intention to create a beer called Defund The Police last Friday, our team has received violent threats to our lives and our families’ at all hours of the day. They’ve been constant, they’ve been all-consuming and they’ve been, frankly, terrifying.
It has become clear that the way we chose to join this conversation wasn’t encouraging the dialogue needed to promote positive change. A beer by that name was not going to drive a greater understanding of the opportunity at hand.
So, with that in mind, we will not produce this beer.
But it’s important that we have this conversation. Our goal has always been to bring people into this historical moment and to help share some education about what it all means.
To us, defunding the police doesn’t mean getting rid of the police. It never has. It’s about rethinking how we police ourselves, what we ask of law enforcement and what kind of resources are needed to do that.
Police officers are called into so many situations that go far beyond traditional police work, from mental health emergencies to issues around homelessness. If we were to enable and properly resource experts to take on these issues, we wouldn’t need to ask our police to ‘solve’ such a wide variety of social problems. Additional investment in crucial, often neglected services like education, healthcare and housing would provide a more comprehensive approach toward some of our most difficult and complex problems. And after 4 punishing months of COVID, every bit of additional investment matters.
We will still make our planned donation, while working to create long-term partnerships with organizations that fight racism and encourage community development in the Bronx. And, as always, we’ll continue to use our beer as a way to build community, encourage creativity, and make our Taproom & Backyard spaces the most inclusive and welcoming in the city.
We’ll keep working to be better. To keep listening, learning and growing. For our community, for this city and for each other.