We recorded this song in our practice space and at home in May of 2015 in the wake of an incredible rash of police violence, mostly committed against some of the country's most marginalized populations. Our hope with this song is to raise money for and lend support to an organization dedicated to ending police abuse and fighting for greater police accountability around violations of the law, the constitution, and basic human rights and dignity.
We'd love to tell you the name of the organization, but because of the title of the song that we covered, they have asked that their name not be publicly associated with the track. If you're curious, or want to donate directly, please be in touch and we'll point you in their direction.
Kindling knows that not every officer of the law is an inherently bad person, but the structure of the job—and the systems of inequality in which it exists—often biases the recruitment of officers, precludes officers taking action against other officers who are abusing their position, and may function to replicate abusive behavior among officers. The fact that we see it as a rare and courageous act for former officers to speak out about injustices they witnessed serves to underline the nature of the situation: the "Blue Wall of Silence" and loyalty to coworkers too often weighs heavier than justice and accountability.
Official versions of events justify police violence on the basis of the actions of the citizens affected—a narrative is molded to fit the outcome. That people of color are disproportionately targeted—and killed—by police points to the racism that suffocates our justice system and our country. Witness video and audio recording serves as a rare and insufficient means of defense for those unjustly pursued by the law. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans recently called for legislation that would mandate distance between people filming on-duty police offers. He is also advocating for legislation that would hold citizens accountable for not coming to the aid of officers engaged in a struggle with a suspect. To expect—and perhaps even require—support and cooperation from people who, on another day, may be unfairly in police crosshairs underscores the deep imbalance in power between the police and those they are supposed to serve. Any attempt to legislate trust, rather than build it, profoundly misunderstands and underestimates the situation.
We don't have the answers, and the situation is far more complicated and culturally entrenched than any band could hope to unravel, but we’re committed to listening and learning. We figured that this would be a good opportunity to offer some funds to people who actually may have the beginnings of an answer to these problems that have long been experienced and felt by the disenfranchised and chronically underserved, but are only recently becoming part of mainstream discourse.
So, if you feel like contributing, cruise over to our bandcamp and download "Hate the Police" - it's name your price and we want you to have the song regardless of money contributed, but anything helps.
Thanks so much.
<3 Gretchen, Stephen, Andy, & Jeff.
Some links (though there are many more):