Jorge Cornell & Nelson Johnson Pix.Feb 14, 2016 copyby Jorge Cornell

It was very hard for me to sit back and watch the news about more black people being shot down by police officers. But as the days went on, it felt good to see that demonstrations against it were organized and peaceful across the country. Then, seeing the police officers get massacred and injured in Dallas brought me to this point where I am compelled to speak out.     

Greensboro as a city must take heed to what’s going on across the country. We as the people need to come together and be the example that needs to be set nationwide. We need to be the role models to the country and show the world that we’re going to make all police officers honest and accountable for their actions, and we’re going to do it the right way. We’re going to give the city what the people have been asking for for years. This includes asking for a citizens police review board with subpoena power because we cannot continue to allow our police departments to police themselves. We are not getting justice within the police department and we are not getting justice from the system itself.     

I’m saying this because I don’t want to see any more brothers and sisters die over something so minute as police officers lacking proper training, being overly aggressive and using excessive force. But I feel that if that power was given to the community we’d have a safer community and a better police department, one we can love and respect. I say this to people who read this in my city and across the country: We cannot take physical action against the police!     

This is a war that will have to be won through marching and talking. We have to have a peaceful solution.

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve been falsely arrested and harassed by the Greensboro Police Department. Yet I still believe to this day that we stand up in peaceful protest and make our community and police departments better. We cannot do that if we are harming the officers!     

People may say “All officers aren’t bad.” If they aren’t, though, why aren’t they too standing up to injustice? Honoring the oath they took? Several I’ve known have, though. Their names are AJ Blake, Charles Cherry, Robert Reyes and Joseph Pryor. These are your good officers — 99 percent aren’t officers anymore because they stood up for justice.    

I urge people across the country to march in peace. Open dialogues. I urge my city even more to be the model. We can do this. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s start the path to justice here in Greensboro.

Jorge Cornell is the former leader of the North Carolina Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation who previously lived in Greensboro. He is currently serving a 28-year sentence in FCI Petersburg, a medium-security prison in Virginia.