State of the Black Union

State of the Black Union

STATE OF THE BLACK UNION

The Shadow of Crisis has NOT Passed

2014 was a year that saw profound injustice, and extraordinary resilience. Homicides at the hands of police sparked massive protests, meaning that America could no longer ignore bitter truths of the Black experience. Gabriella Naverez, a queer Black woman was killed at 22 years old, unarmed. 37 year old Tanisha Anderson’s family dialed 911 for medical assistance. Instead, Cleveland police officers took her life.  Anyia Parker, a Black trans woman was gunned down in East Hollywood. This brutal attack was caught on camera, yet her murder, like so many murders of Black trans women, have gone unanswered. This country must abandon the lie that the deep psychological wounds of slavery, racism and structural oppression are figments of the Black imagination. The time to address these wounds is now.

Freedom Rider, Diane Nash, once unapologetically declared, “We will not stop.  There is only one outcome.” Black lives – men and women, queer and trans, immigrant and first-generation – will be valued, protected, and free.

In the face of the tragic killing of Mike Brown, Black youth in Ferguson said no more,  sparking resistance against state violence that spread across the nation. For over 160 days we have been marching, shutting down streets, stopping trains and occupying police stations in pursuit of justice.  We have stood united in demanding a new system of policing and a vision for Black lives, lived fully and with dignity.  Gains have been made, but we who believe in freedom know we cannot rest until justice is won.

The current state of Black America is anything but just. For Black people in the U.S., the shadow of crisis has not passed.

  • The median wealth for single White women is $42,600. For Black women, it’s $5.001.
  • The infant mortality rate for Black mothers is more than double that of White mothers, due to factors like poverty, lack of access to health care, and the physiological effects of stress caused by living under structural oppression 2.
  • 22 states have passed new voter restrictions since 2010, disenfranchising as many as 34 million Americans, most of them Black 3.
  • In cities across the country, profit-driven policies fuel displacement and gentrification, leading to the destruction of entire Black communities 4.
  • Blacks and Latinos are about 31 percent of the US population, but 60 percent of the prison population 8.
  • In our country 1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in his lifetime 5, and Black women are the fastest growing prison population 6.
  • The life expectancy of a Black trans woman is 35 years.  The average income of a Black trans person is less than 10K.   Trans people are denied jobs, housing and healthcare just for living in their truths.
  • It is legal in many jurisdictions to fire LBGT people from employment and deny them access to healthcare and housing.
  • Since 1976, the United States has executed thirteen times more black defendants with white victims than white defendants with black victims 6.
  • Black U.S. political prisoners have collectively served over 800 years in prison and have consistently been denied parole despite good behavior and time served.
  • Increasingly, students in white areas are nourished and taught while Black children are criminalized and judged.
  • Black neighborhoods lack access to affordable healthy food resulting in disproportionate levels of obesity and other chronic illnesses.

Our schools are designed to funnel our children into prisons. Our police departments have declared war against our community. Black people are exploited, caged, and killed to profit both the state and big business. This is a true State of Emergency. There is no place for apathy in this crisis. The US government has consistently violated the inalienable rights our humanity affords.

We say no more.

  • We demand an end to all forms of discrimination and the full recognition of our human rights.
  • We demand an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of Black  people and all oppressed people.
  • We demand full, living wage employment for our people.
  • We demand decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings and an end to gentrification.
  • We demand an end to the school to prison pipeline & quality education for all.
  • We demand freedom from mass incarceration and an end to the prison industrial complex.
  • We demand a racial justice agenda from the White House that is inclusive of our shared fate as Black men, women, trans and gender-nonconforming people. Not My Brother’s Keeper, but Our Children’s Keeper.
  • We demand access to affordable healthy food for our neighborhoods.
  • We demand an aggressive attack against all laws, policies, and entities that disenfranchise any community from expressing themselves at the ballot.
  • We demand a public education system that teaches the rich history of Black people and celebrates the contributions we have made to this country and the world.
  • We demand the release of all U.S. political prisoners.
  • We demand an end to the military industrial complex that incentivizes private corporations to profit off of the death and destruction of Black and Brown communities across the globe.

This country owes Black citizens nothing less than full recognition of our human rights. The White House’s current racial justice initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, ignores too many members of our communities. It does not address the inhumane conditions we collectively experience living in a white supremacist system. The issues facing Black women, immigrants, trans and queer people must be included and we demand a full expansion of My Brother’s Keeper to do so.

We demand the same inclusion from our movement.

None of us are free until all of us are free. Our collective efforts have exposed the ugly American traditions of  patriarchy, classism, racism, and militarism. These combined have bred a violent culture rife with transphobia, and other forms of illogical hatred.

This corrupt democracy was built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery. And continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color. We recognize that not even a Black President will pronounce our truths. We must continue the task of making America uncomfortable about institutional racism. Together, we will re-imagine what is possible and build a system that is designed for Blackness to thrive.

We fight in the name of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, killed by Detroit Police at the age of 7 years old, who never got to graduate from elementary school. We fight in the name of Mike Brown, who was killed by officer Darren Wilson, weeks before starting college.  We fight in the name of Islan Nettles, a 21 year old Black trans woman who was pummeled to death outside a NYC police station in Harlem.  We fight in the name of Tarika Wilson, who was killed by an Ohio police officer while holding one of her babies, and will never get to embrace any of her six children again.

2015 is the year of resistance.  We the People, committed to the declaration that Black lives matter, will fight to end the structural oppression that prevents so many from realizing their dreams. We cannot, and will not stop until America recognizes the value of Black life.

Media Contacts:

Alwiyah Shariff (Alwiyah2012@gmail.com, 614.328.5829)

Lourdes Ashley Hunter, MPA (Lourdes@twocc.us, 347.320.8681)
National Director, Trans Women of Color Coalition
National Leadership Team, Black Lives Matter

Endorsing organizations: Justice League, Millennial Activists United, Black Lives Matter, Trans Women of Color Collective,  Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Dream Defenders. Black and Brown People Vote, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice , African American Policy forum, ThinkMoor, Unchained, BYP 100, Freedom Side, Ohio Students Association, Hands Up UNited and the Organization for Black Struggle


30 Comments

  1. I support you

    Reply
    • ALL LIVES MATTER!

      Teaching Social Responsibility and Right for Wrong, Respect for Others, etc. Transcends Race, Religion or Ethnic Background!

      Teach Our Children to be GOOD and to FIGHT AGAINST THE EVIL IN THE WORLD and the WORLD WILL BENEFIT from THEIR GOOD.

      Reply
    • I found out about you from a woman in a feminist group I belong to and am stunned by what I am reading on your site. The mainstream media is doing a terrible job in covering these stories. I hope to help you and make a difference.

      Reply
  2. We demand access to to health care that intends to improve the health of people of color instead of what we too often get now care that will lead to chronic illness and death.
    We demand prescriptions without toxins added to prevent the medication from doing what it is intended.

    Reply
    • These are insane allegations… The real beef that all black citizens of the United States have is brought about by poverty not racism…. poverty has to exist in a capitalistic society.. There will always be a lower class and a poverty line that mainly consists of minorities. Why is this? It is because the people who own the big business and the people who have all of the wealth have had it all along in their families. The “White Supremacist” society you speak of is you being ignorant. There are plenty of individuals of all types, backgrounds, races, genders, etc that have succeeded in the US and flourish. The solution is not for the US to feel guilty and give you all handouts… I myself am a lower class black male that is using a library computer for internet… Stop making excuses for poor behavior and fight “injustice” by applying yourselves.

      Reply
      • I agree with you……

        Without being responsible men and women, our children will perpetuate our ignorance. If black lives matter, which they most certainly do, our abortion- rates must stop. Our women have murdered millions of babies. We pick guns up faster than job applications. We know how to fuck before learning manners. BET, VH1, WorldStarHipHop, YouTube and Facebook have become our preferred platform in sharing our niggerish behavior and dialect.
        ( my views.)

        Reply
      • The only ignorance being displayed is from your comment. Black people are marginalized and oppressed and it relates to capitalism and white supremacy because the two are correlated. Capitalism is a colonial construct which is designed to oppress POC by denying opportunity and using racism as a weapon against us. Your comment is a display of how racism is embedded in the system. White supremacy means to brainwash people to believe that black people are just simply not trying hard enough which is why we are so disenfranchised. That is not at all the reality. Do your research before you spew ignorance everywhere please.

        Reply
      • I applaud your words. There will be no easy fix or hand outs.
        After the hand outs end then what?
        People the violence and blame game must end.
        The Japanese had two atomic bombs and half the other towns set a fire by the US in war. Yet they come here with limited english and kick ass and succeed.
        It is going to be hard but together lets leave our kids a better life.
        Through hard work and respect for all lives.

        Reply
      • applaud your words. There will be no easy fix or hand outs.
        After the hand outs end then what?
        People the violence and blame game must end.
        The Japanese had two atomic bombs and half the other towns set a fire by the US in war. Yet they come here with limited english and kick ass and succeed.
        It is going to be hard but together lets leave our kids a better life.
        Through hard work and respect for all lives.

        Reply
  3. I thank that you are is doing a great work for us as bring Black, It is a shame that i get on internet and Read the News paper you the see that Police Officer had kills another young Black, or Black woman. Something need to be done about this. I am very thankful you are trying to do sonething about this matter.

    Reply
  4. My sons attends schools in Naperville Illinois, both AFO Americans my oldest son came home, sharing with me his day. He said mom my teacher who is a special education teacher ask the special ed class did anyone hear about the accident that happen in Ferguson that will remind you to listing to people in authority and do what you are told. Wow did she just say accident…. how did this relate to math as well special needs?

    Reply
  5. Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop! Collective liberation requires solidarity and mutual aid. To all the movements for liberation of the earth, humans, plants, and animals – we must all set aside our differences and all lift the banner BLACK LIVES MATTER! This country was founded on anti-blackness and if we are to overcome the obstacles our “forefathers” set in front of us, we must come to a fundamental consensus that BLACK LIVES MATTER. The US Constitution was only able to be written and signed with the compromise that black folks wouldn’t be considered whole humans in exchange for an understanding that 30 years later, there would be a move to end legalized enslavement. Our country still profits off of slave labor in captivity through mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. We can end all of this. We must make the halls of power shake with our resounding cry that BLACK LIVES MATTER, and only then – when we can see and feel that our movements understand that all we have and are as a nation is built on exploitation and oppression – will we have the strength to embrace each other and our future without fear.

    Reply
  6. Respectfully I have to ask the really important questions regarding your demands.

    How do you expect the Federal Government to accomplish these demands?
    Who do you expect to pay for them, and why?

    Several of your demands regard the need for supplied housing or shelter, food, and more. What gives you the right or entitlement to these when other Americans do not have them?

    You must realize these are more impossible dreams than actual goals that can be achieved.

    Reply
    • A dream of justice is not an impossible or impractical dream. Anyone has the right to dream.

      This is about social constructions. All of these demands are based on social constructions (perceptions that that are reified by legislation. There’s legislation that has supported the militarization of the police–the ongoing process, which has been abrupt at times, of the transition from keepers of peace to those who shoot to kill based on instinct. Instinct isn’t learned on the job, but in interactions with media, people, and places across American society. This police instinct becomes lethal when operationalized by racist feelings–not salient ones, but ideas of who a criminal is and where danger lurks. Legislation could correct the incorrect and unilinear history that we learn in schools–one that omits the diversity of histories of our country of the United States as well as the cultures that existed on this land before us. Legislation could recognize that gentrification is a detrimental force that exacerbates inequality, not just along race lines but also and simultaneously along generational, economic, gender, affectional, professional, and other such factors. The right to healthy food is not a demand that it be given freely, but that it be accessible. Legislation that encouraged food production in urban areas, rather than subsidizing corporate farms, could help provide that access. Free market ideas have led to the inability to afford fresh food through time (working several jobs and therefore unable to cook), money (2 for $3 salads? or burgers?), or commercialization (taste is sculpted by the media). These are social constructions.

      The right to make these demands has been deferred far to long. If you think there is entitlement in asking for justice because others don’t have it, you must agree that all should have justice.

      Inequality is greater than ever. And it can be corrected.

      Reply
    • Some really important questions: Since when is fulfillment of basic human rights to safety, shelter, healthy and eduction an impossible dream? What is more important for the federal government than this?

      Also, no one is advocating that other oppressed groups should stay oppressed. the idea that fulfilling basic promises to one group means denying it to another is completely mistaken.

      Reply
  7. These are important and powerful demands. Begin to be more specific, and keep demands to short term, medium term, and long term. Start on something short term first and attainable. Do not advertise medium or long term publicly, use those for strategic planning internal purposes. Keep it simple when communicating with the public. Make goals understandable and simple. We The People include more folks than you may know. Building coalitions with inclusive thinking people, in case you have not included these folks, like Jewish people, latinos, Asian Americans….all of whom have tremendous access and have many years of organizing and public advocacy.

    Reply
    • Im here because of their list of demands. Small solutions just seems like bandaids on a fatal wound. For me, its better to know there is a larger goal in mind than one at a time solutions. Other wise it feels futile.

      Reply
  8. I don’t think that these should be seen as impossible dreams, but just a call for attention. African Americans have been living in inequality in the United States ever since we were forcibly brought here. This country was built on our backs, yet to this day we still are not able (or technically allowed) to reap any benefits. People say that racism is gone, but it isn’t. The way that it is shown/demonstrated has changed, and it is more present than ever. As long as our brothers and sisters keep getting killed in the streets, we should be allowed to demand equality. It is sad that equality for necessary things even has to be a demand–it should be a basic right.

    Reply
  9. Good afternoon,
    Is there a Black Lives Matter office in Chicago and if so where is it located? I would like
    to become a member.
    Thank you,
    Ken Keith

    Reply
    • hello, please send us a message on our contact page. thanks!

      Reply
  10. A black man myself I care about what black males face.Our lives are viewed as cheap and meaningless.Never has there been much sympathy for bm,we have those that admire,fear and hate us,yet we dont have much if any defenders,sympathizers or those that truly care.Dr King and Malcolm X are missed they would have cared about black males and black communities and made sure we got justice.

    Reply
  11. Equality and Equal justice . And Our fare share of this Land You Stole from our Brother .

    Reply
    • Stole? From your brother? How is that if you had nothing to begin with? Why dont you do What every other American Has done and WORK for the things you feel you are entitled to. But you are entitled to it… if you earn it.

      Reply
  12. I feel that all Americans who want change should come together. We are in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and our lifestyles cover the entire spectrum. Black lives do matter. All lives matter! All people deserve fair treatment and a chance at the life they desire! By keeping us separated by race, sexual orientation, gender, and “class”, the centers of control are able to scare us. Only by coming together as one people can we make change happen!! I urge you to stretch the arms of your organization and seek out all people. I challenge you to find a common desire of America as a whole and fight an organized battle from there. “There are moral laws of the universe that man can no more violate with impunity than he can violate its physical laws.” There is a level of basic morality missing from our society and only by organizing our efforts can we really bring down its plutocracy. All lives matter!!!! There are many of us out here!!

    Reply
  13. I never bash young adults that are trying to do positive things but running your head in a brick wall is plain not smart… You fighting the wrong people…Police officers are trained by guidelines that they are not decision makers didn’t write the laws, they are uniformed soldiers on the street. There are 13 states out of 51 where you can legally resist unlawful arrest on the street. Every death where the police show probable cause they will win, why because the laws are written for then to win. Instead of your protesting Black Lives Matter You should be saving lives by teaching brothers and sisters what these police can and will do!
    If The leaders of the Panthers or Malcolm X were live do you think they would approve of your dilution of the movement with you of social agenda. You should have your own movement and not piggyback this one. Like in the 60’s white women didn’t feel discrimination like blacks did but they benefitted greatly, black men need it all.

    I created a YouTube call Resisting Arrest 40 Years of Lost Civil Liberties. That will show you in the 60’s Barry Goldwater platform called Law and Order to create laws to make jail sentence longer targeting african americans. Your manifesto based off the Panthers, the suits are 5 steps ahead of you. Written laws are enforced by police officers and they will brake on your people because America is becoming less sympathetic as you can see with trail decisions.

    CIA is all up in your camp leading you down this wrong path. The people you should be protesting are lawmakers on the state level in the cities where you live. Flip the script, have sit-in and work with the police, look at laws with them and them have the people to vote that’s the American way? Maybe this Black Lives Matter, can spearhead Black Economic Matters and we stop supporting a system that don’t love us? Anyway, please stop with the smoke and mirrors allowing these people to use you for their propaganda and agendas. Because you will not achieve anything. Folks that are working with you who can you trust? ConIntel Pro was not destroyed they just stopped documenting . As long as you doing random stupid stuff, that fits there agenda you will get media coverage but when you start to uncover the truth it will get hot. Hopefully sisters and brothers you will stand and return the power to the people because in the end, All Lives Matter because we have to make them remember we are all one people…Americans…So I hope…..Tony

    Reply
  14. Seriously selling a phony product here. No question The path for a black person is harder.
    This is more of the blame every one but us game that will only and has always kept black people down. How about working for your list of demands by demanding more from black people.
    Black on black crime is the biggest problem. Just a thought instead of blocking traffic and turning more people including black people against you.
    Do what all the great black people do. Work hard stay out of trouble and good things will happen. To blame whites’ cops or anyone else is never going to get anywhere.
    You want people to care then clean up your backyard and others will join.
    Better food in stores? great! who is going to pay. shitty food in white stores to.
    Do what Spanish do. put your best foot forward and support your family.
    The page will only separate people more. Nobody is going to apologize today for yesterday as they had nothing to do with it.

    Reply
  15. How is this different than socialism?

    Reply
  16. We are in it with you to win it. An April Conference on Race, Reconciliation and Courage-Creating the World We Want (4-24-26) is open for you to attend. Check it out and know that me and my congregation are in the struggle for racial justice. #BlackLivesMatter

    Reply

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