Mall Of America Protest A “Decoy” Says Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter organizers say their announced protest at the Mall of America was a “planned diversion” and a “decoy.” Their real goal was the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport. Protesters did show up at the nation’s largest shopping mall Wednesday afternoon, but they quickly left and boarded trains for a quick trip to the nearby MSP airport where they blocked traffic and caused delays at both of the airports.

As proof that the airport action was planned and not just an adlib, Black Lives Matter points to a tweet with a video showing protesters blocking a road at MSP airport. The group says the 2:05pm timestamp proves it had protesters in place at the airport while others were still on the train. The protest at the mall began around 1:30pm. View tweet and video here.

The group says the action was part of a six city nationally coordinated plan. Other areas that had protests today were near Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Chattanooga.

In Minneapolis the action was spurred by the police shooting of Jamar Clark in November. Black Lives Matters has a list of demands related to the shooting including investigators releasing video. Organizers say roads at the airport terminals were blocked to protest “Islamophobia and anti-black racism in airport policing.” A press release sent out after the action said “we protest the airport’s discriminatory profiling practices against Black people and anyone who is perceived to be Muslim, as part of a larger system that continues to kill and harm Black people without any justice.”

A new demand the group has added asks to “disinvest from police and reinvest in Black futures.” The Minneapolis City Council recently tabled a last-minute plan to transfer $605,000 for police “safety and accessibility improvements” after Black Lives Matters supporters complained loudly about the plan.

Press release from Black Lives Matter

MOA Decoy Action Results in Shutdown of Two Airport Terminals, Light Rail, MOAToday we shut down the Mall of America, Minneapolis Airport, and light rail as part of a nationally coordinated protest. Actions happened in six U.S. cities, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, the SF Bay Area, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Chattanooga. After a planned diversion at the mall, we moved to the airport 5 minutes before the action was scheduled to begin.

We protest the continued unmitigated state sanctioned violence against Black people and communities of color. We protest the continued denial of justice for Black people and Black communities. We want a complete overhaul of the justice system both locally and nationally. Just days after the non-indictment decision in Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas and two months after the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark in Minnesota, we continue to demand justice, including the release of the tapes in the Jamar Clark case. Grand juries do not get justice for Black people when they are murdered by police, this is just one way the system is setup and works against Black people. We also continue to make the following demands:
-Prosecute the police involved without a grand jury and by a special prosecutor
-Federal domestic terrorism charges against white supremacists who shot 5 protestors
-Institute a safety plan to protect our communities from Police violence
-Disinvest from police and reinvest in Black futures

We blocked entrances at both terminals of the airport to also protest Islamophobia and anti-black racism in airport policing. We protest the airport’s discriminatory profiling practices against Black people and anyone who is perceived to be Muslim, as part of a larger system that continues to kill and harm Black people without any justice. The continued relentless violence against Black people is appalling and morally repugnant. The fact that Black people get constantly harassed by police forces at every level, local and federal, in airports, malls, and on the streets of America is no longer acceptable. The fact that too many are tried, sentenced, and executed with no justice on the streets is why we protest. We will continue to protest until we get justice for Jamar Clark, until the tapes are released and the rest of our demands are met. We will not give up and we will not give in. Until there is justice, there will be no peace. 2016 is coming, so are we. ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ ‪#‎blackxmas‬

 

Read original article in the Uptake.

 

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August 14, 2019

Identify. Describe. Dismantle. Repeat.

Nicky Goren, president and CEO of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, writes about calling out and then rejecting systems and institutions rooted in racism as a way to become not just non-racist, but anti-racist. This post was originally published here on Medium.

Nicky was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. The Meyer Foundation, which pursues and invests in solutions that build an equitable Greater Washington, is a member of NFG.


 

Nicky GorenRecently, the president of the United States openly targeted four women of color in Congress, overtly lying about and mischaracterizing things they have said and suggesting they, “go back to where they came from.” Later, at a reelection rally in North Carolina, he continued to stoke these flames of racism and hate as he appeared to bask in the glow of his supporters chanting, “send her back!” in reference to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. This, along with his tirade against Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and the Baltimore-area district he represents, was just among the latest in a long track record of openly racist comments, actions, stances, and tactics the president has used since long before he was elected to the highest office in the nation, and make crystal clear what he and his supporters seek to uphold.

We are long past any question about whether the president and many of the people around him and supporting him are racist. His actions and his words by any objective standard make it so. What is more important is to understand how our systems of government and white culture actively enable racism to continue to play out in our election processes, our governance processes, in virtually every aspect of our day-to-day existence in this country.

A great example is what happened after the president’s remarks when members of the House of Representatives condemned those comments through a resolution. In the context of that debate, some House members attempted to derail the resolution by turning to a House precedent that would preclude the speaker of the house from characterizing the president’s comments as racist; essentially, using precedent and procedure designed to inhibit the ability to call out racism in order to avoid confronting the very issue that is at the core of how we function as a country. If you can’t name it, you can’t address it. This is a prime example of how those in power (historically, white men) have created systems, processes, procedures, cultures, and norms, that allow them to maintain the status quo. We should all be scratching our heads.

We need to call out those in power who are silent or who use a so-called desire for civility — from the White House to the state house to our own houses — as a shield to maintain the structures of white supremacy that have gotten them to where they are and continue to oppress people of color in the United States on a daily basis.

White people who believe themselves to be socially aware need to understand how we are using our dominant cultural norms — that show up in ways including a general avoidance or reimagining of historical facts, an over-reliance on precedent, and outrage at the very idea of being thought of as racist — to shield ourselves, our systems, and those in power from accountability for equitable outcomes. Many of us are constantly deflecting and, thereby protecting, the way things are.

I challenge white people to become not just non-racist, but anti-racist — and to call out racists and racism when we see it. We need to hold those who are perpetuating systems, institutions, and practices rooted in racism accountable. And we need to recognize what we are seeing for what it is; not something from our ancient past that we can absolve ourselves from, but something that is deep in the DNA of this country. We must actively name and refuse to accept racism any longer if we want to move forward and reflect the standards of freedom and democracy we believe we stand for.

In the words of author, historian, and professor Ibram Kendi: “The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it.”

Let’s keep going.

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August 15, 2019

Beyond Outrage: A Clarity of Purpose

Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director of the General Service Foundation, urges grantmakers and the philanthropic sector to take concrete actions to defend democracy and speak out against racist attacks on people of color. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Dimple was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. General Service Foundation, which partners with grassroots organizations to bring about a more just and sustainable world, is a member of NFG.


  

Dimple AbichandaniWe live in dangerous times, and every passing news cycle contains another outrage, another violation of norms, another threat to our democracy, another threat to our planet.  

In the face of escalating racial attacks, (be it imprisonment of kids on the border or the racist rhetoric being tweeted from the white house) many have noted, rightly, that philanthropy as a sector has been too cautious and too quiet.  The Communications Network, in it’s recent piece, Silence Speaks Volumes, calls on foundations to use their voices in this moment.

Yes, it’s meaningful for people from all sectors of our society to condemn the Administration’s attacks on people of color.  And, for those of us working in the philanthropic sector, these times call on us to use all of our tools in defense of our inclusive, multi-racial democracy.  We are more than commentators or observers– as funders, our role is to resource a more just and equitable future. What we do in this moment will be far more important than what we say.  

As painful as this moment is, it is also a time in which the work to be done has become more clear. The vulnerability of our democracy has become more clear.  Racial anxiety and social divisions are being stoked in order to prop up a reckless system that benefits only the wealthiest. As we condemn the most recent of a long list of outrages, can we also use this moment to deepen our own clarity of purpose, and ensure that our funding will bring about a more just future? 

As funders, we can not only speak out but also take action to bolster our inclusive democracy.

  1. Support those most directly impacted by injustice. Instead of wielding of our own voice and power as a foundation, we can support those most directly impacted by injustice to build their voice, power, and leadership. They must lead the way to a more just world; it is our job to uplift and resource their visions and voices. National organizations such as Color of Change, New American Leaders, and National Domestic Workers Alliance, regional and state-based organizations such as Western States Center, Black Voters Matter and Workers Defense Project and so many others are seeding a future in which racial, gender and economic justice will be the norm.
  2. Invest in the creation and dissemination of narratives that reshape cultural attitudes around belonging in our country.  The recent escalation in the use of racist and sexist rhetoric is not happening in a vacuum– rather it builds on broader public narratives shaped by white supremacy and male dominance.  We need to normalize new narratives that humanize all of us, that value all of us. Organizations such as the Pop Culture CollaborativeReFrame, and the Culture Change Fund, for example, build capacity for narrative equity and culture shift.
  3. Question the default funding habits and practices that limit us from making a bigger impact in this moment. As funders, we sometimes have a blind spot for how our internal practices create unnecessary burdens and barriers for organizations that do the important work we support. This moment calls on us to question our practices, shift to ways of working that account for the gravity of the problems we face, and center the people who are leading the social change efforts we support. Could your foundation increase its payout, provide more general operating support, increase the length of grants, and minimize busywork for grantees? Could you shift your grant strategy to more boldly meet the moment or more directly address the imbalances of power in our society? The Trust Based Philanthropy Network has tools and stories of inspiration from foundations who have increased their impact by changing their practices.

So many of us in philanthropy are eager to do something meaningful in this tumultuous time.  Let’s challenge ourselves to use this moment to put our institutional values into practice. Let’s walk the walk as boldly as we talk the talk.