Two members of The Black Youth Project 100’s (BYP100) Chicago Chapter spoke with NPR’s Frederica Boswell about how the events in Ferguson moved them, and what they hope might come from this historical moment.
Malcolm London is a poet, activist and educator. He’s the Chicago Chapter Co-chair of Black Youth Project (BYP) 100, a national organization of young adults that says its mission is to work for economic freedom and justice for all black people. London was involved in organizing a National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) in Chicago in response to events in Ferguson.
What were you looking to accomplish with the #NMOS14, and did you achieve what you were hoping for?
It was a moment to mourn publicly, and to let people know we are tired of the murder of black kids, and the extrajudicial killing of black folks. It hurts. We had 1,000 people gather in Daley Plaza within a day. We organized a lot of folks to say that these kind of things happen all the time, but they don’t need to happen.
What we are always hoping for is to redefine what justice looks like for black youth in America. I don’t think we’ve accomplished that goal. Even if the Ferguson cop does get arrested, that’s not going to stop the deaths of black kids, so that struggle goes on.[…]
Asha Rosa is a rising third-year student at Columbia University in New York where she is a member of Students Against Mass Incarceration and organizes with the Columbia Prison Divest campaign. She is also a member of BYP 100.
Where do you see things in 6 months or a year from now?
I hope that a moment like this makes people start realizing that the current system of policing needs to change. We need less policing and a rethinking of what contributes to community safety. Is that the police? Or is it a community center and well-funded schools? I hope to see structures that establish greater police accountability like civilian-elected police accountability councils and cameras that film the police.
Beyond accountability, I hope to see a shift in narratives about violence. At the present moment, the dominant narrative points to black people as being the main sources of violence in black communities. But what our society needs to begin to recognize is that racialized targeting by the police, underfunding and closing schools, lack of access to social programs and so on are all forms of social, political, and economic violence on black communities. This is the real violence.
BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people.
Click here to read the rest of what Asha and Malcolm had to say.
Kudos to Malcolm, Asha and the rest of BYP100 for standing up for change and having an active role in shaping our world.
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