A STATEMENT FROM THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES
We invite individuals and organizations to join the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table and a collective of united organizations from across the country to imagine, create, and implement a National Policy Agenda. Sign-up here.
In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the US and globally, a collective of united organizations from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to struggle towards a common vision and agenda. We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize that because we have a shared struggle with nonblack oppressed people – including our Brown and Indigenous siblings – collective liberation will be a product of all of our work. We are a new generation of organizers, advocates, and communities who are working to discover our mission and fulfill it. We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are queer, trans, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, poor and working class, differently-abled, women, undocumented, and immigrants. It is our hope that by working together to create and amplify a shared agenda, we can continue to move towards a world in which the full humanity and dignity of all people is recognized.
The bravery and tenacity of Black people from Ferguson to Baltimore has sparked a wave of resistance across the country and across the world. While recent uprisings and resistance were set off by police killings, they are the result of centuries of deprivation and discrimination. The violence inflicted on Black communities goes far beyond police brutality. It can be seen in the continued suppression of our history, the exploitation of of our culture, and the reality that many of our people live in communities that have been systematically denied resources and jobs. The violence includes inadequate health care, dirty water, failing schools, and a lack of resources. Every day we contend with the indecencies of racism and poverty, which wear on our spirit and make our communities more vulnerable to state violence and fuel community conflict.
These varying forms of violence are perpetrated by government and corporate institutions and actors, at both the local and national level. Underlying this violence is the corporate control of the government, our communities, and our bodies that has existed since the colonization of Indigenous lands. The violence against our bodies and communities is not new. It is rooted in slavery, manifested in the practices of Jim Crow and continued through the so-called war on drugs.
Our resistance is also not new. Since the enslavement of our people, we have been coming together to combat laws, institutions and systems that undermine our communities’ self-determination and target our children. There have been countless reforms–many of which have put band-aids on deeply flawed and structurally racist systems. As a result, after centuries of struggle, our government currently incarcerates more people than it once enslaved and corporations are making record profits off of Black bodies and Black suffering.
Together we are engaging in a six month process to develop—through consultation and collaboration—a comprehensive and visionary policy platform that reflects our aspirations and builds power for our people. We are creating this platform to articulate the ambitions and work of our people. However, we also seek to use the platform to intervene in the political arena and assert a clear vision, for those who claim to be our allies, of the world we want them to help us create. We believe that we can achieve, and will seek nothing less, than a complete transformation of the current systems, which make it impossible for many of us to breathe.
We recognize and acknowledge that not all of our collective needs and vision can be translated into policy, but we also understand that policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision.
During the next six months we will work together to create a policy platform that ensures:
- An end to the War(s) on Black people an end to state sponsored violence against Black communities.
- A world where our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us–from our schools to our local budgets, economies, police departments, and our land – while recognizing that the rights and histories of our Indigenous family must also be recognized and respected. We demand ownership and a reconfiguration of the economy, not merely access.
- Political power and self-determination.
- A government that invests in the health and safety of our communities instead of police and prisons. We want investments in our communities, determined by our communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and multinational corporations.
- The continued building of community structures, institutions, and systems that protect our people and celebrate our lives, culture, and communities
- Reparations for past and continuing harms. We seek a commitment from the government and responsible corporations to repair the harm inflicted—from slavery through mass incarceration—on our people.
We invite all those interested to join us in imaging, creating, and implementing a national policy agenda. The agenda will articulate our collective vision of freedom. If you are interested in contributing please sign-up here.