Passing Card, 2010


Passing Card, Ghana ThinkTank, 2011 Printed business card Dimensions: 4” X 3”

I wrote this “passing card” to reflect on my own experiences as a young Chicana and to draw attention to the complicated emotional milieu around street encounters with law enforcement. The text is written in both Spanish and English. I have included the English below.


“Esteemed Officer, I understand that it is your right to stop and question me. Clearly you feel that I have given you some reason to doubt the integrity of my behavior. After all, I have been standing here for some time with no apparent reason for doing so. Then again you know, as I know, that there is nothing necessarily criminal about this—but perhaps it is my age, race and gender that concern you. I am well aware that over 84% of the allegations of police misconduct made in Corona, Queens involve young Black or Latino males.

I fit the profile.

This is foremost in my mind as you approach me. I want you to know that I respect the premise of your role and that I acknowledge the risk of personal peril that you undertake each time you report for duty. But you should also know that your rigid stare evokes in me a sense of vulnerability and apprehension that seems out of place in our relationship: you an officer of the peace and me a member of this community you swore to serve and protect. Regardless, here we are and we must make the best of this unpleasant circumstance. I assure you that I will behave in a deferential and cooperative manner while carefully noting the details of our encounter: your name, badge number, and patrol car number. I ask only that you treat me with courtesy, professionalism, and respect.”