With protests erupting around the world after the death of George Floyd, Shreveport native and Oklahoma defensive back Chanse Sylvie wanted to take a more active role in the fight for change.
"I wanted something that could last and be a foundation. Something that can be for years to come so we don't get to the same place that we are now."
When the protest ends what will remain ? Steps for reforming policing in America ! pic.twitter.com/FOI6Q8oO2j— Chanse Sylvie (@ChanseSylvie) June 1, 2020
Sylvie graduated from OU with degrees in political science and criminology and used that knowledge to write a police reform plan from a unique perspective, "Maybe from viewing it from my lens, they (people) can see just how the systematic racism and police brutality puts an impact just on regular individuals. No matter the accolades and achievements you may achieve in your life, still when you see those lights when you get pulled over, it's sense of, 'Man, hopefully he's having a good day. Let me make sure I'm doing everything correctly.' I don't want to end up like those individuals I see on Twitter, Instagram, or the news."
Great speaking with @ChanseSylvie today about ideas for reforming policing in our city, state & nation. I'm pleased to announce that I am forming a task force to identify the best ways to use our new community outreach funds, & I have invited Mr. Sylvie to participate! #localgov pic.twitter.com/yXt8Dxdzos— Mayor Breea Clark (@clarkfornorman) June 19, 2020
In the month since releasing his plan, Sylvie says the support has been overwhelming. He even spoke with the mayor of Norman, Oklahoma, Breea Clark, to share his ideas on police reform and the reallocating of funds, "We was just talking about ways that we can use that money to better the city. A lot of things don't start with just police brutality and systematic racism. Sometimes it's anything to bring that community involvement with police in the community. Just finding ways we can change things in that nature."
The Calvary grad looks to Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins and his reforms and wants others to look beyond their city limits, "I grew up on the side of Cedar Grove or Olivewood as many people say. A lot of my friends, family members, and people of my community don't get to see the things I see, the different places in America. A lot of times my friends and family, the farthest place they may go is maybe Bossier City. A lot of people don't even reach the other side of their own hoods or their cities. They don't see the broader perspective. They don't see, 'If I make these correct decisions in my life, I can be at this standpoint.' I just want to let them know, I'm coming from the same area, same schools, same communities, and I have those steps and blueprints of ways we can change that community."
While Sylvie credits the University of Oklahoma and football for letting him experience life outside of Shreveport, he wants the kids in our city to know that's not the only way, "A lot of people don't understand that you can be a lawyer, doctor, politician, school teacher. So I'm showing my other sides off the field that you don't have to just be an athlete to be on the next stage, or be the next LeBron James. You can be the next Mayor Perkins. You can be, like my mother, the next principal of a school."
Sylvie says after football he may pursue a career in politics, but wants to keep his options open. No matter where life will take him next, Sylvie wants to continue to inspire the youth in both Oklahoma and back home in Shreveport.