Michael Davis' block in Los Angeles used to have huge trees on both sides of the street, so big they created a canopy. "They were beautiful," says the 17-year-old high school senior. "They covered the whole top of the block." But recently, he says, the trees were cut down. In their place, there are now bright lights and security cameras. Davis is a youth leader with the Community Rights Campaign and its student club Taking Action, which organize around the school-to-prison pipeline, mass incarceration, and the criminalization of black and brown communities in Los Angeles. Having the trees on his block replaced with cameras and lights was just one sign of what Davis describes as a nationwide trend of police militarization against communities of color.
A police officer patrols the hallways at a Virginia high school.