October 7, 2016

Statement from Within Our Lifetime

This rapid response statement on police killings in September 2016 was originally released by Within Our Lifetime on September 29, 2016 at http://www.withinourlifetime.net/.


 

Within Our Lifetime (WOL) supports the families of Alfred Olango, Keith Scott, Terence Crutcher, Terrence Sterling, and Tyre King (among many others) and all the people grieving, organizing and protesting for justice in El Cajon, Charlotte, Tulsa, Washington, D.C Columbus, (and beyond) in the wake of the rampant police killings of Black people across America. These tragic losses lay bare the urgent need for substantive changes in a number of areas, including law enforcement training and community oversight. We are committed to finding ways to elevate awareness of the damage inflicted by structural racism, implicit bias and racial trauma and seek opportunities for joint work and joint action toward racial equity, justice, dialogue and healing. In short, WOL is committed to ending the hierarchy of human value that exists in the United States according to race, and calls for the following:

First, law enforcement agencies locally and nationally must immediately shift administrative practices through training, professional development, and protocols of accountability dealing with implicit bias, and overt racism. Specifically, WOL demands advanced de-biasing training to decrease officer bias with accountability to the community they serve. We have all heard the video of a police officer in a helicopter in Tulsa call a Black man with his hands in the air “a bad dude”, despite no other information. In addition to becoming conscious of their internalized racism, professional development for police must also address what Camara Phyllis Jones calls personally mediated, and institutionalized racism.

Second, WOL demands specific actions to increase the capacity of the community and government to hold law enforcement officers and departments accountable. U.S. police have killed many unarmed civilians in the past 2 years, with almost no officers charged, and even fewer convicted.  We call for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the killings, and to expedite the creation of an oversight board within the Community Oriented Policing Services program to ensure that departments that receive funding are implementing community-centered strategies,  and at a local level governments should push their departments to have independent community oversight with the power to subpoena officers. Additionally, police precincts should be controlled by communities not by centralized power of the unions. We call for reparations for the families of those killed, and we call for a national database that prevents officers dismissed for misconduct in one police department from being hired in another.

Third, Within Our Lifetime formally endorses The Movement for Black Lives Policy Platform and urges our member organizations to do so as well as lawmakers in California, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio and other state and local governments, as well as the federal government to do likewise. The need for anti-racist  and direct democratic systems that include, community oversight of police departments, and the execution of all of the initiatives described in The Movement for Black Lives Policy Demands have never been more clear.

Finally, WOL recognizes the need for immediate responsiveness to impacted communities, as well as a renewed opportunity to work toward racial equity, justice and healing.  We reject all attempts to shift the blame to individuals that have been targeted by the police – reading a book, or carrying a toy gun, or having your car break down are never acceptable reasons for violent force.  We also reject all attempts to shift blame to the people protesting in the street in the wake of these senseless killings. The issue is state-sanctioned violence, not the community’s response to that violence.

We offer our support and our resources to these most recently impacted communities, with the sad recognition that this problem will not end today. We will pay special attention to the trauma and recovery of the communities most impacted, including the Black community. It is well past time for a fundamental shift in how Black lives are valued in America.  And as communities emerge from the most significant trauma and disruption, we will make available the wisdom in our network around racial healing, and the tools to fight for policy change and racial equity. We invite you to join us in this work by becoming a member of Within Our Lifetime.

Within Our Lifetime is developing a Rapid Response protocol, in collaboration with Movement NetLab, to respond to crisis situations. In the interim our areas of support your local community can request in times of crisis for preparedness are the following:

  • Emergency Financial and Material Resources: bail fund, family fund for social support costs. Movement Registry gift supplies via Amazon.
  • Regional Racial Healing Calls: emotional emancipation processes, racial healing community circles.
  • National Unified Calls to Action: mass networked symbolic and political actions that can go viral.
  • Remote Strategy Consultations: coaching on racial justice strategies and documentation of events of the incident or watershed event through media coverage.
  • Legal Support: Know Your Rights training, Tool kits, Legal Observers

To request movement support locally in your community from our interim intake process please click here. If you would like to get involved in shaping it or one of our other workgroups, please complete this form.

Here are some ways you can assist the three communities who experienced this state sanctioned violence (additional links to be provided soon for other cities):

  • Sign petitions, volunteer or donate to Charlotte Uprising HERE.
  • Donate to Movement 4 Black Lives support efforts HERE.
  • Donate to Southern Vision Alliance Charlotte support efforts HERE.

Here are few resources to continue to learn more about the issues and to share within your organization, communities, and partners:

Referenced Links:

June 26, 2020

Strike Watch: Workers refuse to relent for Black lives, as COVID-19 workplace dangers expand

If there is an image that encapsulates the continued expansion of worker-led direct action in the last few weeks, it is Angela Davis on Juneteenth. With her fist raised high and face mask tight, Dr. Davis stood strong out of a roof of a car moving through a massive strike linking dockworkers and community to shutter the Port of Oakland for 8-plus hours. Led by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) shipping and transport workers, 29 ports were shut down as tens of thousands came together, and drew connections by featuring speakers such as fired Amazon warehouse worker Chris Smalls between the racial violence of police and that of powerful corporations.

Payday Report tracked more than 500 strikes from the first protest for George Floyd at the end of May to a nationwide day of action on Juneteenth. In Minneapolis in the days after the murder of George Floyd, workers showed solidarity in ways ranging from unionized bus drivers refusing to transport police to direct action by teachers to remove police from schools. Journalists also have confronted racism in their institutions, such as the 300-plus sickout at the New York Times to challenge Arkansas Tom Cotton’s op-ed calling for military action against protestors. Workers, small businesses and community collaborated on a Washington State-wide day of action where dozens of businesses shut down and employees skipped work to support of Black Lives Matter and confront white supremacy. 

Unions are also taking strong stances on the efforts to divest and defund from police (see our NFG resource for funders here) and invest in real community need and safety, including a wide ranging set of locals in the Bay Area supporting this call directly. Locals like UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles have confronted recent police killings such as the murder of 18-year old Andres Guardado (whose father is a union member) by the LA Sherriff Department (LASD) in Compton. The local joined street protests and signing on to BLM and abolitionist-led calls for a #PeoplesBudgetLA and a Care First budget defunding the LASD.

Using one’s workplace power to support anti-racism has also morphed among professional class workers “at home.” Dozens of scientific institutions, from journals to university departments, also #ShutDownSTEM to force reflection on entrenched racism in the US and support for Black lives.  #Sharethemic days where white women-identified influencers ceded space to Black women anti-racist leaders like #metoo founder Tarana Burke also offered new ways to consider not only walking out, but handing over resources, space and power.

Like the ongoing strikes responding to COVID-19, workers are exposing the hypocrisy of the endless barrage of corporate statements professing #BLM while taking actions that are quite literally killing their Black and brown workers. Under the cover of slick marketing, trillion-dollar companies like Amazon and Whole Foods are cutting back low-wage worker hazard pay and other protections (won by protests), even as COVID-19 cases spike in their worksites, and even seeing BLM masks banned on the job.

Global Essential Organizing in the Age of COVID-19

As COVID-19 cases (and unemployment claims) continue their ascent in the US, and other regions of the world see dangerous resurgences, mostly Black-, Latinx- and API- (including and especially migrant)-led worker organizing for basic protections has not let up either. The latest waves of strikes organized by Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) among dozens of apple picking and packing sites in Washington state’s Yakima Valley saw a significant victory with a signed collective agreement for safety and hazard pay among dozens of different apple picking workers earlier this month.

Mosty-migrant meatpacking workers globally – from Germany’s hinterlands to Hyrum, Utah – continue to demonstrate n the face of outbreaks in plants. Unionized nurses represented by National Nurses United and different SEIU affiliates are striking nationwide against the large US corporate hospital chain HCA Healthcare for still failing to provide Personal Protective Equipment (while cutting staff) starting Friday, June 26. Disney workers, meanwhile, attempt to stave off a disaster at their multi-billion dollar company seeks to re-open its theme parks in July.

Months of essential worker strikes are becoming entwined in an even broader sea of actions for Black lives and calling, in many cases, for police and prison abolition. Angela Davis reflected in an interview on the same day as the Juneteenth strike: “Activists who are truly committed to changing the world should recognize that the work that we often do that receives no public recognition can eventually matter.” The power reflected in ongoing strikes has been built at the grassroots through base building and other work for numerous years. Dr. Davis’ words are in many ways a call to action for philanthropy: how will funders fully recognize and support the immediate and long-term building necessary for worker-led organizing and power? And as major institutions like universities look inward, will foundations reflect on their own perpetuation of racism and corporate power - from external investments to internal practices?

FJE’s Strike Watch is a regular blog and media series dedicated to providing insight on the ways in which grassroots movements build worker power through direct action. Our ultimate goal: inform philanthropic action to support worker-led power building and organizing and help bridge conversations among funders, community and research partners. We are grateful and acknowledge the many journalists and organizations that produce the content we link to regularly, and to all our participants in first-hand interviews. Questions on the content or ideas for future content? Reach out to robert@nfg.org

Photo Credit: Yalonda M. James / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Photo Credit: Yalonda M. James / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

June 25, 2020

$50million for M4BL - See You There

Dear Donors, Funders, and Resource Mobilizers: 

The Movement for Black Lives mounted a significant SixNineteen Juneteenth weekend of actions in a matter of weeks. Virtually, over 185,000 people viewed M4BL-TV to celebrate, mourn, and learn. Over 650 in person and online actions took place in cities and communities across the nation, and globally. For context on the strategy behind this weekend of action we recommend the first episode of the People's Action Podcast The Next MoveMaking Meaning with Maurice Mitchell

We are deeply moved by Black Leadership and now we are getting closer to a world where defunding police and building new visions of community safety, infrastructure, and recovery are not just possible, but are inevitable.  This month alone, we’ve seen:

·  A veto-proof majority in the Minneapolis City Council pledged to take steps to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a community alternative.

·  The mayor of Los Angeles announced that the city’s police budget would be cut by $100-150 million to reinvest it in programs to create better conditions for Black residents,

·  The public perception of policing and racism has shifted dramatically, with 54 percent of Americans supporting the uprisings.

·  And dozens more victories listed here.

We asked you to meet the courage of M4BL’s Juneteenth action by moving resources with integrity and speed. We asked you all to resource our movements working to Defend Black Lives by breaking the rules: give more than 5% from your endowments, trust Black leadership, and remove habitual philanthropic red tape. We responded to M4BL’s call to philanthropy and stated that $50M is the floor, and it is more than possible if we are prepared to fund the Movement for Black Lives like we want them to win. Your commitments so far is the proof point - you were listening! We are grateful for the ways you have shown your solidarity so far. 

Our first goal was to raise half of it by the end of June - $25M. We need your support and solidarity over these next seven days and beyond.  

In 14 days we have raised $18M in commitments, pledges and cash on hand. We have $7M to raise in 7 days and a week to make our first goal.  Solidaire Network and Resource Generation have both pledged to organize their members, and we’ve had contributions come in from the $10,000 to $5M range. Some of you have even pledged for 10 years, demonstrating your commitment not just to the moment but to the long term movement that’s needed to win. 

As a reminder, here are the four ways we need you to show up for Black lives: 

  1. FIRST: COMMIT. If you haven’t done so yet, complete this survey with your own pledge today.
  2. SECOND: ORGANIZE. We need you to organize your institutions, boards, friends, family, funder affinity groups -- the communities you can and have organized to move resources.
  3. THIRD: GIVE. We ask that you make a generous one-time donation and a sustainable recurring donation to M4BL and its ecosystem here.
  4. FOURTH: FOLLOW THROUGH. Get ready to share with us what you are prepared to do, and what philanthropic “rules” you are prepared to break to Defend Black Lives today.

In struggle, 

Funders for Justice and our donor-organizing partners for the Movement for Black Lives 

Find More By:

News type: