Dr. Marc Lamont Hill recently shared he doesn’t just preach decriminalization, he practices it.
“My store WAS burglarized during the pandemic. The police caught the 2 brothers who did it. They asked me to press charges. I said no. They charged them anyway. They asked me to come to court. I refused. Instead I found and met them,” Hill tweeted on Nov. 23 “We did a restorative process. I LIVE THIS SH*T.”
The educator, author and host wrote the tweet in response to a thread from a user who criticized him for saying how “very proud” he was of a book he just wrote about prison abolition.
The user said crime in Philadelphia was up over 50 percent and brought up the robbery of Hill’s bookstore in the city, “Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books.”
At the height of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the media reported a robbery of Hill’s store after the store’s account posted an image of its broken window after it was vandalized and burglarized.
Even then, however, Hill chose to focus on the positive.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt and we didn’t lose too much. Still, I must admit that i was momentarily sad and frustrated as I stood in the store at 1am, still sick, surrounded by broken glass,” Hill wrote. “But by 8am, multiple people from the community had stopped by -some even pulled over their cars- to help me clean up and secure the building.”
“In the end, I’m sad that someone is in a situation where they have to do harm to survive. I hope that we can figure out ways to help them and others meet their needs in a different way,” Hill continued. “Most importantly, I’m grateful for a loving community of people who believe in our mission and stand with us. The hits may come, but we remain committed to fighting, dreaming, loving, and building for the world we want to see. Forward ever!”
Marc Lamont Hill has long advocated decriminalizing certain offenses and defunding the police in favor of more community-driven solutions like neighborhood watches, etc.
“I say that for the last few centuries, we invested more and more in policing, and it hasn’t made us any safer or less drug-addicted or less vulnerable. We need a new way,” Hill told Philadelphia Magazine in April.
He reiterated those sentiments during a May interview with The Breakfast Club.
“The root cause of most crime is poverty — it’s inequality. Most people don’t rob people just to rob people. Some people do, but most people don’t,” Hill said. When people have jobs they commit crime less, when people have libraries they commit crimes less, when they have school access to music and art programs, they commit crime less.”
“We have to re-imagine what safety looks like … We can have our own neighborhoods and community watches and things like that. We can have public safety forces,” Hill continued.
PHOTOS: Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. (Wikimedia via Way180) / Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Philadelphia in 2020 after robbery. (Instagram @unclebobbies)