It is true that the Movement for Black Lives is leaderless; it is also true that Deray McKesson has been dubbed the face of this same movement, and within his time as “The Face,” many people – including Black people – have come to critique his decisions. With his name most recently in the news for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, we are given the gentle reminder that our community is not unified in its current demands and we cannot get caught up in the headlines that so often overshadow the work.
Regardless of where you are in your political education, Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th was pretty well done.
Weaving the staggering numbers of rising incarceration rates with the insights of prominent activists, journalists, and academics coupled with a soundtrack that highlights the connectedness of mass incarceration to Black realities, it is a signature piece of art imitating life. The 13th brought many conversations around systematic racism that usually happen in select circles to a potentially larger audience, but I’m not sure if anyone besides the usual “woke” circle sat in on this one, and if they did – what now?
Earlier this year BYP100 released the Agenda to Build Black Futures, followed by A Vision For Black Lives policy platform that they signed on to this summer, both of which spread wide in the digital space. Last week BYP100 and the National Black Justice Coalition joined each other in Washington, D.C. to take both platforms from the digital space to the congressional space for the first Build Black Futures Advocacy Day. This was a huge step in the Movement, as members of congress on both sides of the aisle have struggled to understand the Movement and it’s asks of our government.
Since 2004, Chicago has spent $642 million on police-related legal claims. Between 2012 and 2015, the City paid out a total of $210 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits, many on the receiving end of the settlements were Black and Brown folks. This is now the same city that will be hiring more police officers, putting more Black and Brown Chicagoans at risk. There is no nice way to say this, but Chicago is wasting its time – and money – hiring more police officers.
On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced in a memo that, over time, the DOJ will end its contracts with private prison companies that operate 13 facilities within the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). While this is a significant move given the times we live in, these contracts, with Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group Inc., only account for 7% of the industry’s revenue.
What happens when activism becomes cool? Profitable? In a world driven by consumerism it seems almost necessary to integrate something like Black Liberation into the culture – as something that can be accessed, understood, bought, and enjoyed by most- to create sustainable change.
As reported in the AJC, seventeen-year-old Jaydon Lee Reid from Cobb County, Georgia was just given two life sentences and an additional fifteen years for the shooting of Terrence Banks and Sterling Hargrave when he was fourteen years old. While much work around juvenile justice and reducing prison sentences focuses on commuting the sentences or eliminating mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenders, it is essential for those troubled by the US police state to grapple with how society can justly respond to violent crimes, especially those committed by youths.
During the week of February 21st, Veronica Morris-Moore did not rest. She was dedicating her body, her energy, and her time to making sure that people make the smart choices for the betterment of Black lives.
Instead of sleeping, Morris-Moore protested against Anita Alvarez, the current state attorney for Chicago who in no way, shape, or form should have control over Black lives because she abuses her power and has no respect for Black people. Morris-Moore rightfully believes that the greatest power that we have seen is action and protest. Her language is poetic and her dedication is inspiring. With Morris-Moore and the efforts of Fearless Leading by the Youth (F.L.Y.), an organization founded to enact change by carrying out political campaigns created by Black youth. Because of their work, there will now be a trauma center on the Southside of Chicago. In this installment of Black Youth Spotlight, we talk with Morris-Moore and gain insight into how her actions has helped save lives on the Southside.
When the Oscars won’t honor the great African Americans who are making strides in the film industry, what else is there to do but implicitly protest the award show?
Everyone always says: “Just be patient. Once all the old racist, misogynist white men die, everything will be fine.” If that’s true, then perhaps, this week’s news about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s unexpected death should be considered a collective step closer to the goal of dismantling systemic racism.
To be honest, Scalia was trash. It’s been a few days since he was found dead and that truth is still evident. People (mostly conservatives) will defend his record, calling him a patriot or some other term that is actually violent towards non-Whites. But, most folks know that Scalia’s actions while on the SCOTUS were primarily in support of the oppression of non-whites, women, and other marginalized groups and the maintenance of institutional racism. His death, then, is not really very sad.