STATEMENT

Movement for Black Lives Statement on Biden’s Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Plan

After President Biden announced his student loan debt forgiveness plan last week, Dr. Amara Enyia, policy and research coordinator for the Movement for Black Lives, issued the following statement:

“While we acknowledge and welcome the sorely-needed relief that many need, we know that the Biden administration can go further by canceling student debt entirely. So many people need and deserve that relief. 

Black students, who are often forced to borrow at higher rates, hold disproportionate debt, reinforcing the racial wealth gap. In fact, white college graduates have over seven times more wealth than Black college graduates. This debt affects creditworthiness and the ability to do things like purchase a home or obtain capital to launch a business.

Canceling student debt would boost GDP, actually grow the economy, and create some relief for Black people struggling with increasing cost of living and other economic challenges.

We demand the Biden Administration go beyond this initial step by canceling all student debt and addressing higher education institutions that have shifted to a tuition-based business model that allows states to divest from public spending on education – thus creating a situation of high tuition financed by student loans. Unfortunately, the consequences of this decision by institutions of higher learning are falling on borrowers.

While the Administration’s announcement will bring relief to some, we know that more can be done to support Black people across the country.”

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

The Black Hive @ M4BL Statement: In Solidarity with Jackson, Mississippi’s Black Community and the Water Infrastructure Crisis

In response to the Jackson, Mississippi water infrastructure crisis, We, the Black Hive – the Movement for Black Lives climate and environmental justice intervention and collective of over 200 climate and environmental justice organizations and Black leaders – release the following statement:

“The Black Hive @ M4BL is in solidarity with Jackson, Mississippi residents to demand the basic human right to clean water. At this very moment, over 160,000 people in America are struggling to cook, clean, bathe, or even hydrate without running water. How can a state as rich in resources and industry as Mississippi not have running water? We must be clear: the Jackson water infrastructure crisis is a human rights crisis, and it is the direct result of violent and racist infrastructure disinvestment, now further compounded by the climate crisis.

Governor Tate Reeves and the state government’s white power structures have perpetually denied basic infrastructure, investment and human services to the city of Jackson, simply because it is the largest majority Black city in Mississippi. Jackson is yet another casualty of white supremacist neoliberalism, as the federal government has spent the last thirty years shifting away from direct investments in our communities’ public drinking water systems. As a result, localities have been forced to participate in racially exclusive, capitalist lottery systems that increase rates, and shift the burdens to Black communities. 

Decades of racist disinvestment and dereliction in the U.S. South has led to this crisis. The 117th Congress has passed three different bills – the American Rescue Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act – authorizing billions of dollars for water infrastructure upgrades. Yet none of these investments have reached vulnerable communities, and Governor Tate Reeves has repeatedly ignored the root cause of this water crisis and has blocked multiple attempts by Jackson authorities to access these vital funds. State and federal authorities have repeatedly failed to invest in solutions to end this human rights abuse. Jackson residents have faced multiple unsafe water advisories since 2016 due to toxic lead levels, and yet it wasn’t until the collapse of the city’s water infrastructure in 2022 that Jackson’s struggles were finally acknowledged.

Systemic neglect and racist exclusion has placed Black communities, like Jackson, on the frontlines of both the infrastructure and climate crisis. From Flint, Michigan to Lake Chad in Central Africa, to West Baltimore, Maryland, the Black experience reveals that scarcity and conflict are senseless crises manufactured by global divestment in our communities. 

The Black Hive @ M4BL is clear in uplifting these demands. Ultimately, when water becomes both unsafe and unaffordable—it becomes ripe for privatization and profit. We vehemently reject the capitalist disposability of Black lives and the planet. 

The Black Hive @ M4BL in Solidarity with the Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition demands: 

  • Congress appropriate immediate funds in the amount of $100 million to upgrade to the Jackson water system and ensure that this is done by Black-led community-based organizations in the Jackson area
  • Moratorium on ICE patrols that terrorize residents as they pick up water for their daily needs
  • Ensure that at least 40% of financial investment and resources are allocated to Jackson residents and community/Black-led organizations
  • The federal government must quickly implement disaster response and long- term climate resiliency planning in the most affected communities 
  • Establishment and activation of a national emergency water assistance in priority disaster areas, effectively putting an end to the environmentally racist and unjust practices that prioritize private access during emergencies, which denies Black communities any decision-making power or agency
  • Critical upgrades that are essential for a functioning drinking water/ wastewater system must come without predatory financing or indebtedness that would further burden the city
  • Immediate replacement of all lead pipes and lead paint that is contaminating the water supply in Jackson, MS
  • An immediate end to deepwater fracking and drilling, a ban on all new fossil-fuel drilling and fracking, protection of marine habitats, an expansion of marine-protected areas, restoration of vulnerable marine ecosystems, and investment in the protection and repair of fisheries
  • Congress amends the Stafford Act to include man-made and climate-related disasters
  • Closed loopholes for the commodification and the private prioritization of water, oil, gas production, and aqua ecology that is vital to the environment

The climate crisis is a racist, capitalist, colonial and economic emergency. We must demand  divestment from the extraction, exploitation, and exclusion of Black lives and communities now. We call on the U.S. government to prevent any more losses, damages and death in Jackson, Baltimore and Black communities  across the U.S. Black people are the solution to the climate change crisis that is impacting our communities, homes and lives. The Jackson water crisis and other water crises hurting Black people are yet another example of the need for climate reparations and supporting Black climate and environmental leadership in this urgent fight against climate change.

In Power & Hope

The Black Hive @ M4BL

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

The Black Hive @ The Movement for Black Lives’ Statement on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)

In response to the Senate passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), We, the Black Hive – the Movement for Black Lives climate and environmental justice intervention and collective of over 200 climate and environmental justice organizations and Black leaders – release the following statement:

“We are opposed to the Inflation Reduction Act, a deal that sacrifices Black lives for the pretense of clean energy progress. Unlike the original Build Back Better Act, the IRA was designed by coal baron Joe Manchin, and hastily pushed through the United States Senate. In our various capacities, we are disturbed by the vacuum of representative leadership championing this legislation. Even as the Inflation Reduction Act receives positive media spin coordinated by white-led environmental organizations, naming The Inflation Reduction Act as the first and biggest climate bill in the history of the United States of America—The Black Hive, M4BL, is clear that this bill is woefully inadequate to meet the severity of the climate crisis and the needs of the Black communities on the frontlines of its impacts.

Climate change is the greatest crisis of our generation. Unfortunately, this bill enables the current system of fossil fueled, racial capitalism by furthering the reliance on extraction, exploitation, of resources for an elite few at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Inflation Reduction Act in its current form offers up Black lives to the oil and gas industry for political gain on a global scale. This is true for communities from Appalachia, to the Gulf South, those on the frontlines of climate impacts, and across the Global Black Diaspora.

This deal supercharges funding for nuclear, dirty hydrogen, carbon sequestration and other false green technology solutions. It guts the National Environmental Policy Act, one of the best remaining tools to protect Black communities from toxic polluting infrastructure. And the IRA opens up new oil drilling & gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska for oil production and expansion to the largest oil producers in the world. Ultimately, the IRA puts the health and safety of millions of people at risk—particularly Black communities in domestic fossil fuel producing regions.

Black people are not a transactional constituency for the forgetful democracy. And we demand a politic that recognizes the impact of this legislation on our daily lives, safety, and futures. Unfortunately, the Inflation Reduction Act takes us further away from building an equitable future as it denies the demand to end fossil fuels before our planet reaches the tipping point.

We see the Inflation Reduction Act for what it is and demand transformative climate legislation that will actually prioritize conditions for a livable planet beyond emissions calculations and economic models.

The Black Hive @ M4BL demands that environmental and climate change organizations move beyond a posture of damage control. Organizations claiming to represent marginalized people or as allies to Black lives must show up and fight with us against false solutions. Allies need to fight alongside Black climate and environmental justice leadership and join the fight against every permit for coal, oil and gas now emboldened by compromise, and fight for every dollar of toxic waste site remediation (Superfund) and environmental justice funding to ensure it goes to Black communities and support Black climate leadership. We will not stand in coalition with white led climate organizations without a commitment to building alternatives to fossil fuel, extractive and polluting industries that continue to destroy our communities, harm our lives and our planet.

The Black Hive @ M4BL holds the Biden Administration accountable to their own environmental justice commitments. The Justice40 program calls for 40% of federal climate dollars to go towards disadvantaged communities—yet at best, the $60 billion in environmental justice investments makes up less than 16% of the IRA’s total $369 billion in climate spending.

The Biden Harris Administration must apply the Justice40 framework towards every non-harmful climate investment in the IRA.

The Biden Harris Administration must also commit to shore up protections for the National Environmental Protection Act rather than weakening it.

Additionally, on behalf of those already impacted we demand emergency funding and relocation dollars to match the support for industry in the Inflation Reduction Action.

We demand that Black communities be among the first in line for training, research, healing, education and development money set aside for climate change and environmental justice projects in Black communities.

And as we head into COP 27, we also further demand advancement, protection and democratic community control over how resources are distributed. This must happen while honoring and respecting the rights of our Indigenous families around the world, as the U.S. Administration takes this “win” to the global stage.”

The Black Hive @ M4BL asks for a commitment from white-led climate and environmental justice organizations to defend Black lives and support proper infrastructure, policy and legislation that guarantees conditions for healthy Black futures.

We invite all Black Climate and Environmental Justice organizations to join The Black Hive. We also invite any Black climate and EJ leader who works in a white led organization to join us, as we co create solutions for Black lives. There is a home for you here.

We invite everyone to join the Black Hive @ M4BL on August 25, 2022 at 6pm – 8pm ET at M4BL.org to learn about our priorities, plans and explore our Black Climate Mandate 2.0. Visit m4bl.org for more information on The Black Hive and other M4BL campaigns.

In Power & Hope

The Black Hive @ M4BL

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

We Deserve to Breathe

After the Supreme Court limited the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fight climate change in a landmark ruling yesterday, the Black Hive at the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

“Recently, the conservative, white supremacist majority of the U.S. Supreme Court announced its catastrophic decision to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants, which we know will cause harm to millions of Black, Indigenous, and people of color across the United States – and the globe. 

We know that living in a safe, clean, and thriving environment should be a right for Black people. The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms that corporate polluters in Black communities hold more power than the Black people in those communities – and their decision will have lasting and deadly impacts on our health.

Industries based on the usage and generation of fossil-derived fuels are killing our communities. Research has shown that these toxic industries create disparate health impacts, where Black and poor people bear a disproportionately high burden of living with fossil fuel pollution across the United States. Black people have 1.54 times the exposure to particulate matter compared to the overall population.

The liberation of Black people – and all people requires that we justly transition to a renewable and regenerative economy. 

We are faced with the fierce urgency of now, and we are running out of time. This is year three of the critical decade to slow down climate change. To achieve this, we need bold policies that center frontline communities. The Black Hive, the Movement for Black Lives’ climate collective, inked a “National Black Climate Mandate,” which demands federal guarantee and protections to stop the pollution of Black communities and federal prioritization and investments in cleaning up Black communities from toxic pollution and exposure.


How can the U.S. ensure this protection if the U.S. itself is a major contributor to the creation of greenhouse gas emissions that burdens our comrades in the Global South and across the world?

How will this impact the federal commitment to advancing environmental justice and the implementation of Justice 40, an executive order that mandates 40% of federal funds be spent in disadvantaged communities?

The Biden Administration must act boldly and swiftly to:

  • Declare a Climate Emergency under the National Emergencies Act. At this critical point, climate change cannot be denied, silenced, or forgotten.
  • Put an end to corporate and fossil fuel bailouts and advance corporate accountability by urging Congress to suspend the filibuster and institutionalize the EPA’s ability to regulate air pollution (including greenhouse gasses), which was first passed in the Clean Air Act. 
  • We know that true liberation cannot be achieved with a court system and while we work toward a vision of abolition. Communities are calling for an expansion of the courts.

Urgent action is imperative. Science and our lived experiences as unionized Black and Brown bodies across the Global South show us every single day. Another world is possible. We just have to be brave enough to step into it.”

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

Movement for Black Lives Statement on Biden’s Executive Order on Policing

After President Biden released his executive order on policing today, including new restrictions on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

“President Biden’s executive order is a poor excuse for the transformation of public safety that he promised the Black voters who put him in office. It’s also a shameful way to mark the memory of George Floyd, who died two years to this day. 

After spending the last few months denouncing our movement’s calls to reimagine policing and public safety, the president’s order is nothing but a reflection of his allegiance to law enforcement. Restrictions on tactics like chokeholds and no-knock warrants are the bare minimum and have not been effective in reducing the harm of the system responsible for ending the lives of George, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. And while banning the use of military equipment by law enforcement is a step in the right direction, two years from the largest racial justice uprisings of our generation demanding new visions for safety, this order still does not do nearly enough to protect our communities. 

This order and efforts to reform policing nationwide fail to understand that we cannot fix a system working precisely as white supremacy designed it. As long as policing exists, Black people like George will continue to have their lives stolen by state-sanctioned murderers. 

It is also important to acknowledge the power of our movement in this moment. We would not be here today if the president did not feel immense amounts of pressure to offer some sort of response to the people’s demands for community investment. But our work continues – ultimately, justice cannot exist without divesting from the police and investing in public safety alternatives. 

Rather than minor reforms that tinker on the edges of a racist system, we need a complete overhaul – and to pass legislation that includes the framework of the BREATHE Act, unveiled by M4BL in the wake of George’s murder two years ago. BREATHE will give us what we know Black people deserve: a vision of community safety that works for everyone by divesting from discriminatory policing and investing in alternatives that are proven to keep our communities safe.

We are grieving for George Floyd and his family, and all of the others lost to police violence. We are grieving that so little has been done since his murder. We are grieving our dead in Buffalo, Laguna Woods, Uvalde, and countless cities across the country where policing provides no protection from the violent conditions so many of us in this country are forced to endure. As long as Biden and his administration continue to focus on propping up the racist institution that is policing, the people will always lose and never be safe. But we will not stop fighting until every Black person can live without fear of police terror, and it’s past time those in power join us.”

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

Movement for Black Lives Statement on White Supremacist Mass Shooting in Buffalo

After a white supremacist murdered ten people and wounded three others at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

“We are heartbroken and livid by Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo and are grieving for the families who lost their loved ones and the entire Buffalo community. This massacre is a white supremacist hate crime, adding to the long history of anti-Black killings and white supremacist violence that has permeated our society since its founding.

Although we know this kind of anti-Black violence is not new, this tragedy is also a direct result of racist ideologies peddled by conservative politicians like former President Donald Trump. Once considered a fringe and extreme view, the “Great Replacement” theory is quickly growing within the Republican party, uplifted and shared widely by media pundits like Tucker Carlson, and unchecked by tech corporations that put profits over people’s lives. The GOP, Fox News and social media companies are directly to blame for this tragedy and so many others. 

We will continue to see an increase in frequency and intensity of violence not only against the Black community, but also the Asian, Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ+, and Jewish communities if “thoughts and prayers” are the only steps elected officials take against hate crimes and white supremacy. We will continue to see those who are threatened by our collective power attempt to silence us through any means necessary.

However, in response to this attack, we ask lawmakers not to lean on the expansion of extreme sanctions like reinstating the death penalty or expanding the use of life without parole. These actions will not prevent another tragedy, and will only reinforce the racism, over-policing, and over-incarceration that Black and brown communities face. Instead, political leaders must protect us by tearing down systems of oppression and investing in our people.  

We know a world exists that is free from harm for our communities, where Black people can live without the fear of white supremacist violence and police terror. So while those in power continue to do nothing to ensure Black people can live safe, healthy, and thriving lives, we will be working to create the world we deserve.”

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENTS

The Movement for Black Lives Condemns the Biden Administration’s Brutal Expulsion of Haitian Migrants

In response to the Biden Administration’s violent deportations and heinous treatment of Haitian migrants, and horrific reports of the use of whips on Haitians at Del Rio, the Movement for Black Lives, issued the following statement: 

“The Movement for Black Lives condemns the Biden Administration’s heinous expulsion of Haitian migrants searching for a better life and affirms their basic human right to safety and security.

The Biden Administration’s decision to force vulnerable Haitians to return to a place impacted by overlapping crises, political turmoil, and the COVID-19 pandemic– hardships exacerbated by French and American imperialistic policies towards Haiti – — is exceptionally inhumane and represents a failure to depart from the archaic policies of his predecessor.

The Haitian people have demonstrated immense resilience in the face of many obstacles to their progress such as being forced to pay “restitution” to France, their colonizers and enslavers, after the revolution. They also faced a twenty year U.S. occupation (1915-1934), and decades of U.S. economic and political interference and U.S.-backed Duvalier dictatorships. Exploitation has left the country vulnerable to natural disasters, which have compounded the suffering, poverty and death that Haitians have endured. On the heels of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, in July, and both an earthquake and tropical storm in August that killed over 2,000 people, many have fled for their lives risking the trek through South and Central America in the hopes of seeking asylum in the United States – only to be treated with callous cruelty at the U.S border.

This spectacle of anti-Black violence is inexcusable, reminiscent of days of chattel slavery and the era of colonization, where Black people were corralled and contained, tortured, exploited, and abandoned. There are no circumstances under which it is in any way acceptable to whip human beings, and the common bond of law enforcement that continues to exist between Jim Crow era slave catchers and modern-day border patrol agents must cease to exist.

When we say Black lives matter, we mean all Black lives. The thousands of Haitians along with other Black migrants seeking asylum for their families in the U.S. deserve safety, dignity, and a fair process. There is no excuse for a president who professes a commitment to combating racism to allow this catastrophe to continue to unfold before our eyes.  

The 13,000 people, hungry, hot, dehydrated and desperate are clinging to life on the U.S. southern border, treated like non-humans undeserving of the most basic human compassion. Is the legacy of this administration going to echo the cruelty of the last, or will it take action to uphold the basic tenets of democracy?

We demand the Biden administration immediately:

  • Halt all Deportations and End the Use of Title 42 at the Border and at All Ports of Entry
  • Enact Wide-Scale Humanitarian Parole for Haitians
  • Defund and Divest from DHS, ICE, and CBP
  • Invest in Humane, Holistic Immigration
  • Sign onto our Vision for Black Lives 

For centuries, the United States has upheld anti-Black, white supremacist policies that not only disregard the value of Black lives, but brutalize Black, brown, indigenous and Latinx individuals through violence and exclusion at the border, medical abuses while in detention, overcriminalization, mass detention, and deportation. We have to ask in a country with a long history of beating, burning and brutalizing Black people, how is this any different? 

Our Vision for Black Lives includes the following demands to end the war on Black migrants:

  • Elimination of restrictions on entry to the United States that disproportionately target and exclude Black migrants.
  • An immediate end to all detention, deportations, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids, roving Border Patrols, and private and public immigration detentions centers.
  • Repeal of the 1996 crime and immigration bills.
  • Divestment from immigration enforcement institutions, corporations and border militarization apparatus, including Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
  • Mandatory, free, and accessible legal representation for migrants in immigration court, including language interpretation and disability accommodations.
  • End the criminalization, surveillance, structural exclusion, demonization and deportation of Black migrants, particularly migrants who are undocumented, Muslim, trans, nonbinary, LGBQ+, disabled, people in the sex trade, people living with HIV, people who have criminal convictions, asylum seekers, refugees, low and no-income people, youth, DACA-mented and under-documented people.”

This is a humanitarian crisis, rife with violations of domestic and international law. If this administration intends to mold a different legacy that departs from its fascist predecessor, we join our friends and family in organizations like the Haitian Bridge Alliance, HERF, BAJI, the Black Collective and UndocuBlack in demanding an end to expulsion flights forcing Haitian migrants back into the situation they have fled and immediately grant humanitarian parole to the Black asylum seekers.”

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About the Movement for Black Lives
The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENTS

The Movement For Black Lives Releases Statement on Ben and Jerry’s New Flavor “Change is Brewing” In Push to Get Congress to Pass the People’s Response Act

WASHINGTON, DC, September 20, 2021— Israeli politicians and some U.S. officials have launched a powerful offensive to silence those who call out Israeli injustice and to suppress growing support for Palestinian freedom and justice. Now they are targeting companies like Ben and Jerry’s for their refusal to make a profit off of settler colonialism. 

The backlash comes as Ben & Jerry’s decided to stop sales in illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements in 2022. The Movement for Black Lives released the following statement on its work to pass The People’s Response Act  and the launch of the new Ben & Jerry’s “Change is Brewing” flavor: 

The Movement for Black Lives reaffirms its unequivocal commitment to the liberation of the Palestinian people. For decades, our movements have supported one another in a principled struggle for Black and Palestinian liberation. In aligning with its values of freedom and self-determination for oppressed people, we welcome the decision by the Ben and Jerry’s board to take bold decisive action to end all business with apartheid Israel’s illegal settlements. 

Launched in 2016 and inspired by the dreams and imaginations of 60 Black-led community organizations, much of M4BL’s work is rooted in the Vision for Black Lives policy platform. Among the demands included in the original platform, it calls for investments that recognize ‘our shared struggle with all oppressed people: collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.’ The document also calls for ‘investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people.’ We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and we want divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations. 

We’ve always understood that Black and Palestinian liberation is linked to one another. Collectively our movements continue to build power, causing backlash from those who wish to silence our voices and our right to resist our dehumanization at the hands of the state. Israel’s own racist laws strip Palestinians of basic rights and freedoms, enshrining apartheid, occupation, and an economic blockade even as millions around the world protest and demand justice for Palestinians. This struggle for justice mirrors the growth of Black political power here in America. That is why we unveiled the BREATHE Act and support The People’s Response Act — to bring us closer to a world where policies work to protect the health and dignity of Black people proactively.

We commend bold legislators who joined Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) – in introducing the People’s Response Act to offer a practical, common sense approach to ending the cycle of police violence, mass incarceration and criminalization by providing adequate, health-based responses our communities need during a time of crisis. The bill represents our first opportunity to begin ensuring the BREATHE Act framework becomes a reality. 

We are clear that policy is one of many tools at our disposal. We can’t afford to leave any tools on the table. If we are serious about demanding a divestment from police departments for reallocation and re-investment in defense of Black life, we must engage in public policy.

We organized, we wrote policy that crystalized our demands, and we voted for a new Congress. Now, alongside our allies in Congress and among companies using their profits to help achieve a Black-led vision for liberation, we must pass legislation that works to create systems that truly keep Black people safe. 

While the company is still grappling with coming fully into alignment with its social mission to “use ice cream to save the world,” the Movement for Black Lives welcomes Ben and Jerry’s support of The People’s Response Act, which expands a new vision for public safety rooted in public health, and their investment in local organizations working every single day in service of a new future for Black people. Now is the time for Congress to embrace bold, courageous leadership and join Congresswoman Cori Bush, Ben and Jerry’s, public health experts and advocates, as well as hundreds of community and social justice organizations across the country, in supporting and passing the People’s Response Act.

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About the Movement for Black Lives
The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

The Red, Black & Green New Deal and the Movement for Black Lives are in solidarity with the Gulf South as they survive, recover, and rebuild from Hurricane Ida.

Hurricane Ida is a sobering reminder that the climate crisis is not coming—it is here. Ida made landfall on August 29th, the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina; it unleashed unrelenting wind, rain, and flooding across the Gulf South, including Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Just shy of a category 5 storm rating, Ida is one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the region in the last 160 years. The 150-mph winds knocked out power for at least a million people across Louisiana and Mississippi, tore roofs off buildings, left entire parishes underwater, reversed the flow of the Mississippi River, and displaced countless people.

SUPPORT RELIEF EFFORTS NOW. DONATE TO OUR LIST OF TRUSTED ORGANIZATIONS IN THE HARDEST-HIT AREAS.

Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition (MS):
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/mississippirapidresponsecoalition

Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (LA):
www.GCCLP.org

United Houma Nation (LA):
https://unitedhoumanation.org

MS Poor People’s Campaign/Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition (MS):
https://www.peoplesadvocacyinstitute.com/mississippi-prison-reform-coalition

People’s Advocacy Institute (MS):
https://www.peoplesadvocacyinstitute.com

The Smile Trust (LA, AL, MS):
https://mthsmile.com/

MS Moves (MS):
https://msmove.org/index.html

Pickles and Popsicles Inc. (MS):
https://www.picklesnpopsicles.com

The Ordinary People Society (AL):
https://www.wearetops.org

ALLIANCE FOR AFFORDABLE ENERGY (LA):
https://www.all4energy.org/

BYP 100 (MS):
https://secure.actblue.com/donate/byp100-1

The Lower 9th Ward CSED (LA):
http://sustainthenine.org/

Healthy Gulf (FL, AL, MS, LA, TX):
https://www.healthygulf.org/

Housing NOLA (LA):
https://www.housingnola.org/main/home

Imagine Water Works (LA):
https://www.imaginewaterworks.org/

Alternate ROOTs (GA):
https://alternateroots.org/

Southern Organizing Academy:
https://www.southernorganizer.org/donate

ReThink:
http://www.therethinkers.org/

As climate-justice organizers in M4BL affiliate groups like the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy (GCCLP) remind us, these extreme weather disasters are not natural, organic, or inevitable. They are a result of slack government policies and unchecked corporate practices that have created a climate crisis, in which the intensity of global warming exacerbates weather conditions beyond what would otherwise occur. Climate change amplifies the damage done by hurricanes by increasing the likelihood of rapid intensification from warmer seas, supercharging the storms with water and rainfall, and extending the reach of storm surge due to the rise in sea level. Despite the urgency this should invoke, our local and federal governments continue to fail our communities’ needs by ignoring the reality of the climate crisis. 

It’s unclear when evacuees will be able to return home, and even more unclear how long recovery will take for those who decided to ride out the storm. Water rescues continue; some homes are completely destroyed; there’s little to no access to food, gas, or power; and hospitals are unprepared for incoming patients from the storm as they remain full due to the ongoing Covid crisis.

While the devastation wrought by Ida is still being assessed, and loss and harm will be felt across the board, we know that poor communities, Black communities, and communities of color are the ones that will be hit hardest by the blunt force and trauma of yet another disaster. We send our love and condolences to communities in the path of the hurricane. We also vividly remember the inexcusable suffering, bureaucratic incompetence, and abandonment of the victims and survivors that occurred in the wake of Katrina; thus, we demand that local and federal governments do everything within their power to provide aid, resources, and refuge, and in no way militarize the situation or criminalize victims and survivors of the storm.

We pledge to continue to monitor, speak out, and be in principled solidarity with our family in the Gulf South. We are with our people in the region through the darkness of this storm. We will be there for you in the coming days.

Those who want to donate directly to GCCLP’s relief effort, visit https://bit.ly/StormReliefFund. If you want to donate material contributions through them—diapers, pampers, feminine products, food, water, solar generators, etc.—please contact Anthony Giancatarino at anthony@gcclp.org

In Power,

The Movement for Black Lives

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

Statement

August 18, 2021

Movement for Black Lives Releases Report Detailing U.S. Government Persecution of Protestors Supporting Racial Justice

The report details how the federal government deliberately targeted supporters of the movement to defend Black lives during the summer of 2020 uprisings in order to disrupt and discourage Black organizing

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Movement for Black Lives, alongside the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) clinic at City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, released a detailed report outlining the federal government’s attempt to disrupt and suppress those who took to the streets in defense of Black lives throughout the summer of 2020. The report Struggle for Power: The Ongoing Persecution of Black Movement by the U.S. Government — finds that as the uprisings increased, so did the unilateral deployment of federal agents, largely uninvited by local or state officials. By charging racial justice protesters with federal crimes that carry harsher penalties for conduct that normally would have been prosecuted in state courts, if at all, the government not only acted on hostile rhetoric from the most senior federal officials, but it also perpetuated a long history of attacking Black-led organizing and movement-building. 

“In the spirit of Black August, we must acknowledge that this is not the first or the last time the federal government has utilized coordinated attacks on Black activists as a means to suppress our right to protest,” said Dr. Amara Enyia, Policy and Research Coordinator for the Movement for Black Lives. “Historically, Black protestors have more often than not been met with governmental oppression and accompanying police violence as a result of our unwillingness to accept the systemic disregard for and mistreatment of Black lives. Quite frankly, nothing in this report is surprising, but provides further evidence that, despite persistent attempts to silence Black voices, our collective activism continues to strengthen and grow, and our progression towards Black liberation terrifies the federal government.”

As noted in the report, to disrupt the 2020 uprisings in defense of Black lives, the federal government spread anti-BLM propaganda and cast protestors as “violent radicals” in order to seize power in local communities and charge protestors with inflated federal indictments that carry significantly harsher penalties than local charges. 

Struggle for Power: The Ongoing Persecution of Black Movement by the U.S. Government analyzes 326 criminal cases from August 31, 2020, to October 25, 2020, when federal charges were filed against protestors. Topline findings of the report include:

  • 92.6% of the cases could have been charged under equivalent state or local law.
  • The federal penalties for 88% of cases were clearly harsher. 
    • Federal charges very often carry greater sentences than state criminal charges for the same conduct and result in convictions at an astoundingly high rate, increasing the number of political prisoners at the hands of our carceral system.
  • 72 cases (22.1%) involved charges with mandatory minimum sentences. 
  • Demographic breakdowns were only available for 89 of the 326 criminal cases, however, fifty-two percent of the defendants identify as Black, and of the Black defendants, 91% were male.

“This report highlights just how vigorously the federal government attempted to disrupt the necessary work of those in the struggle for Black liberation,” said Princess Masilungan of CLEAR. “The findings only confirm what Black organizers and movement leaders already understood: The federalization of protest-related charges was a deliberate and cynical effort to target and discourage those who protested in defense of Black lives. Everyday Americans are now facing prison sentences in more distant locations, higher maximums and mandatory minimums, and no chance of parole as a result of exercising their First Amendment rights. Incarceration often leads to income and job loss along with the separation of families. It not only harms the individual but also their families, organizations, and communities.”

Following the uprisings in the summer of 2020, several states and localities across the United States continue to introduce stronger laws and punishments that will unfairly target protesters of color. In 2021, more than 80 anti-protest bills have been introduced, with eight states passing legislation. 

In light of the report’s findings, the Movement for Black Lives and CLEAR are calling on Congressional leaders to take action through the passage of the BREATHE Act, demanding amnesty for all prisoners involved in the uprisings, and calling for the abolition of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)

“As the findings in this report are taken into consideration, I urge activists and allies across the nation to be emboldened by the fact that despite repeated attacks, our movement is making progress. In the face of fascism, we refuse to relent but rather, we will continue to push and build the power of Black organizing,” added Dr. Enyia. Read the report here.

STATEMENTS

Justice Tastes Better Than Complicity: Ben & Jerry’s must now end all business with apartheid Israel

Justice Tastes Better Than Complicity

WASHINGTON, DC, July 21, 2021—Thanks to the impact of growing grassroots movements supporting Palestinian rights, Ben & Jerry’s has announced their decision to stop selling ice cream in illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements on stolen Palestinian land, and the company will not renew its agreement with its Israeli licensee when it expires in December 2022.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the Ben & Jerry’s statement read. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

However, as many supporters of Palestinian rights called out on social media and elsewhere, the statement also said that Ben & Jerry’s “will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.” The parent company Unilever made this addition without the approval of the Ben & Jerry’s board. The board stated the addition does not reflect their position, and that by publishing this statement without approval, “Unilever and its CEO at Ben & Jerry’s are in violation of the spirit and the letter of the acquisition agreement.”

As the board’s chair Anuradha Mittal told NBC News, “They [Unilever] are trying to destroy the soul of the company. We want this company to be led by values and not be dictated by the parent company.”

Our response: We welcome Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop sales in illegal Israeli Jewish-only settlements, and we call on Unilever to align with the Ben & Jerry’s board to end all business with apartheid Israel. Until then, the boycott continues.

Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, who’ve led a 10-year boycott campaign, called out Ben & Jerry’s for failing to meet their three demands and remaining complicit in Israeli occupation. As the momentum for Palestinian liberation builds, this is the time to keep pushing for Ben & Jerry’s and all corporations to stand on the right side of history.

We share two important points:

  1. This announcement is a significant partial victory and step forward, signaling a massive, hard-fought narrative shift toward Palestinian liberation in the U.S. Boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) tactics work. BDS is a time-honored, effective, and increasingly popular method for change, which creates economic pressure to achieve freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people. After a 10-year campaign led by Vermonters for Justice in Palestine (VTJP), and the pivotal advocacy of the Movement for Black Lives, this growing grassroots pressure forced Ben & Jerry’s to take a stand. This is how we weaken oppressive power structures, how we create change and shift narratives, and why we keep pushing.
  1. The unwavering fight for justice isn’t over. The boycott continues until Ben & Jerry’s ends all business with apartheid Israel. The Israeli state can’t be separated from its apartheid and military occupation. Ben & Jerry’s must now fully commit to standing on the right side of history by completely ending its complicity in Israel’s separate-and-unequal apartheid regime.

“For Ben & Jerry’s to fully commit to justice, there must be no scoops left behind under apartheid,” said Ahmad Abuznaid, the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. “Until there are none, we are not done.”

Ben & Jerry’s professes to run its business according to its progressive core values and social mission, saying “we use ice cream to change the world.” Progressives believe all people deserve to live freely and safely, and therefore any commitment to progressive values must include the liberation of the Palestinian people. No exceptions.

M4BL's Response

The Movement for Black Lives made the final push to pressure Ben & Jerry’s to support Palestinian rights, in keeping with their Vision for Black Lives policy agenda, which recognizes “our shared struggle with all oppressed people: collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.” Their advocacy was a powerful illustration of Black-Palestinian solidarity, just as the Black and Palestinian liberation movements have supported each other for decades.

“The decision by Ben and Jerry’s may be our most important BDS win to date,” said Sandra Tamari, executive director of Adalah Justice Project. “It opens the door for other mainstream companies to heed the Palestinian call for cutting ties with the Israeli state. The over-the-top response by Israeli leaders to the company’s announcement, including threats to compel U.S. states to apply unconstitutional state laws limiting boycotts against Israel, shows that immaterial victories such as these can make a vast empire tremble, and that is the power of organizing.”

“The Movement for Black Lives supports and defends the unobstructed freedom and self-determination of the Palestinian people,” said Montague Simmons, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Movement for Black Lives. “Black and Palestinian organizers have long worked hand-in-hand to eradicate repressive regimes and policies in both Palestine and the United States. Ben and Jerry’s withdrawing sales on Occupied Palestinian Territory is a step in that direction, yet insufficient. We believe it is important to acknowledge that the small attempts at fixes don’t override the bigger context of apartheid, settler colonialism and military occupation. We continue to demand an end to human rights abuses, settler colonialism and U.S. investments in the occupation of Palestine and the apartheid state. ”

This breakthrough illustrates the rapidly growing support for Palestinian rights in the U.S., and the necessity of a U.S. policy that reflects this. A recent Data for Progress poll found that 72% of U.S. Democratic voters support H.R. 2590, the Palestinian Children and Families Act, compared to only 13% of House Democrats who’ve cosponsored the bill. The people support Palestinian rights, and it’s far past time for every corporation, representative, and institution to get on board.

Organizations: Adalah Justice Project, Movement for Black Lives, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights

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About Adalah Justice Project
Adalah Justice Project is a Palestinian advocacy organization that builds on the foundational belief that no one is free until everyone is free. We operate at both the grassroots and congressional levels, and we bridge between the US and across Palestine to build unity and vision. We provide analysis of both historic and current, unfolding events in Palestine, and demonstrate how Palestine intersects with other social justice issues in the U.S. and across the globe to build cross-movement solidarity.

About the Movement for Black Lives
The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

About the US Campaign for Palestinian RightsThe US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) is a national network of activists and organizations who are committed to freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people and who work to end U.S. complicity in their oppression. USCPR is a political home for all who believe that freedom for the Palestinian people is an integral part of achieving our collective liberation. USCPR provides resources and strategic support to the U.S.-based Palestine solidarity movement, channeling grassroots power into positive change in U.S. policy and public opinion. USCPR works with local organizers and activists, policymakers, movement leaders, media, and advocacy organizations to advance a rights-based, accountability and justice-oriented framework from the U.S. to Palestine.

Statement

July 7, 2021

The Movement for Black Lives Celebrates BREATHE Act Anniversary

One year after its historic unveiling, the bill that presented a visionary framework to reshape public safety inspires local, state and federal legislation 

New York, NY — Today, the Movement for Black Lives marked the year anniversary of the unveiling of the BREATHE Act–inspired by the Vision for Black Lives, an omnibus bill born out of the George Floyd protests and rooted in the vision of 60 Black-led community organizations to reimagine public safety proactively and as a public health imperative for Black communities. 

“In the year since we unveiled BREATHE, we protested to defend Black lives, helped pass landmark legislation to make a wholesale shift in our approach to public safety in Illinois, and organized to participate in elections to build Black political power– all in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” said Gina Clayton-Johnson, architect of BREATHE Act, member of the leadership team of M4BL Policy Table, and executive director and co-founder of Essie Justice Group. “We know what keeps us safe. That is why 90 percent of the BREATHE Act proposes investments in our communities. Legislation like The People’s Response Act takes important steps to not only physically locate community safety outside of our criminal-legal system and inside of our largest health-focused institution, but to also make the sort of investments that actually keep Black people safe, repair past harm imposed by systemic racism and the War on Drugs, and end the criminalization of Black people.”

In every corner of this country M4BL has organized, protested, and voted against wanton police violence, against apathy towards hundreds of thousands of deaths from COVID-19, and for health care, living wages, education – and Black futures. 

In the year since M4BL unveiled the BREATHE Act: 

  • More than two-thirds of Americans affirm that Black Lives Matter—a dramatic shift in public opinion from even five years ago. 
  • A new generation of movement-aligned Black leaders was elected to Congress, including the elections of Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Ritchie Torres, and Mondaire Jones. Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were reelected by large margins despite strong opposition. 
  • Police ballot initiatives designed to fundamentally change policing received overwhelming support from voters in more than a dozen cities. 
  • Nearly a dozen major cities also elected progressive district attorneys, including Georgia. 
  • Communities won over $840m in direct cuts from US police departments and at least $160m investments in community services. In 25 cities, such as Denver and Oakland, officials moved to remove police from schools, saving an additional $34m.
  • Portland, Oregon, cut $15m from its budget and disbanded a gun violence reduction unit and transit team that had both long been accused of over-policing Black communities. 
  • San Francisco officials pledged to divest $120m from police over two years with plans to invest in health programs and workforce training. 
  • Minneapolis reinvested $2 million in community-based violence prevention programs and a new mobile mental health team to respond to certain 911 calls.
  • Austin, Texas reallocated over $20m from their police department to emergency medical services for Covid-19, community medics, mental health first responders, services for homeless people, substance abuse programs, food access, workforce development, abortion services, victim support, parks and more. The city spent 40% of its budget on the police; it now spends 26%.

Last year, in the wake of the Floyd uprisings, The Movement for Black Lives unveiled the BREATHE Act, an omnibus framework based on the Vision for Black Lives, a collective platform of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country in 2015. In 2020, the Vision for Black Lives became the basis for a visionary bill to divest taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing and invest in a new vision of public safety. Since, over 150,000 people have signed on as community co-sponsors of the BREATHE Act. 

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www.breatheact.org

STATEMENT

June 28, 2021

Contact: m4bl@berlinrosen.com

The Movement for Black Lives Announces Support for The People’s Response Act

The People’s Response Act represents a wholesale shift toward health-based approaches to keep Black people safe.

Washington, D.C. — Today Representative Cori Bush (D-Mo), along with Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-06), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) introduced The People’s Response Act, federal legislation that provides vital investments in community and public health-centered approaches to keeping Black people safe in America. It establishes a new federal division within the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee this division. The Movement for Black Lives announced support for the bill, which catalyzes decades of organizing efforts in policy while incentivizing states and local governments to invest in alternatives to policing and incarceration.

“When we were protesting in the streets of Ferguson to get justice for Mike Brown Jr., our demands were clear,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “When we were protesting all across the country to get justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, our demands were clear. We demanded a new system of public safety that prioritized care over criminalization, healing over incarceration, and prevention over policing. With the People’s Response Act, we’re building a future where Black, brown, Indigenous, and marginalized communities can live full and joyous lives. Our communities deserve a just response, a new response, and a better response. I am proud to introduce the People’s Response Act, in partnership with community, and alongside my colleagues Reps. Pressley, Jayapal, and Schakowsky, and a fast-growing number of congressional colleagues. We are legislating to save lives.”

“The People’s Response Act is transformative legislation that puts us on the path toward achieving our full vision of safety for all Black people. It moves us toward a shared vision of what truly keeps Black people safe: dramatic investments in communities that have suffered from generations of systemic racism and economic exploitation, incentives for local governments to adopt critical non-carceral practices, and the creation of a federal community safety agency to make the critical link between public safety and public health,” said Kayla Reed, executive director of Action St. Louis and leader of the Movement for Black Lives’ Electoral Justice Project. “We demand legislators hold a hearing for the People’s Response Act and move the bill towards passage. We know what it takes to keep our communities safe, that is why we will organize to support Rep. Bush and bill co-sponsors to make this approach real for Black people.” 

The People’s Response Act:

  • Creates a federal first responders unit that will support state and local governments with emergency health crises, as well as a First Responders Hiring Grant to fund non-carceral first responders;
  • Creates a grant program that funds community-based organizations to implement non-carceral, non-punitive investments in community safety—investments in the programs and services that our people actually need to be safe. Things like mental health, violence interruption, youth programs, treatment, and so much more; 
  • Creates a grant program that funds and incentivizes state and local governments to shrink their criminal-legal systems and invest in community-led, non-carceral, non-punitive approaches to public safety; and 
  • Establishes a federal body (“Division of Community Safety” at the Department of Health and Human Services) to oversee grantmaking, research coordination, and other support for non-carceral, non-punitive approaches to public safety. 

The People’s Response Act is supported by the Movement for Black Lives, which represents a network of 150 Black-led organizations across the country. Rep. Bush’s rise to Congress is rooted in her experiences during the Ferguson uprising and her personal experiences with oppressive systems that harm Black people daily. More than 70 organizations have thrown their support behind the bill representing a wholesale shift away from systems rooted in oppression to create federal infrastructure for a non-carceral, health-centered, and preventative paradigm for community safety. 

“This is what electoral justice looks like – doing what it takes to keep Black people safe. We applaud Rep. Bush and Rep. Pressley’s bold, courageous leadership in sponsoring a bill that supports real community safety and provides health-focused infrastructure that protects and defends Black lives proactively,” added Reed
Last year, in the wake of the Floyd uprisings, The Movement for Black Lives unveiled the BREATHE Act, an omnibus framework based on the Vision for Black Lives, a collective platform of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country in 2015. In 2020, the Vision for Black Lives became the basis for a visionary bill to divest our taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing and invest in a new vision of public safety.

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

April 20, 2021

Contact: press@m4bl.org

Movement for Black Lives Statement on Derek Chauvin Trial

MINNEAPOLISAfter Derek Chauvin was found guilty by jury of all three charges against him for the murder of George Floyd, Karissa Lewis, National Field Director of the Movement for Black Lives, issued the following statement: 

“George Floyd should still be alive, full stop. Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict doesn’t fix an irredeemable, racist system of policing rooted in white supremacy that will continue working against and harming Black people just as designed. Minnesota police couldn’t even go the full length of the trial without taking the life of another Black person, and now we’re grieving for Daunte Wright just as we continue to grieve for George Floyd. This repeat cycle of police killings, trials, and no real substantive systemic change has to stop. Now is the time for a complete reimagining of public safety in the United States, so that no more fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, children, siblings or loved ones are lost to the hands of state violence. It’s past time to divest from an institution that consistently proves itself to be deadly, and invest in a system of safety that protects us all. Our calls for defunding the police will continue to grow louder with each police murder. We will not give up fighting until Black people and communities get the justice and liberation they deserve.” 

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.

STATEMENT

The Movement for Black Lives stands in solidarity with the people of Nigeria who are under attack as they protest the violence and brutality inflicted by Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and the Nigerian police. 

For weeks, the people of Nigeria have been courageously protesting from Abuja to Lagos, demanding an end to the killing, unlawful arrests, torture, sexual violence, and other harm caused by law enforcement across the country. 

On Tuesday, October 20th, Nigerian forces opened fire on protestors, killing multiple people and adding to the dozens who have already been shot and killed over the course of the demonstrations. We won’t stand by as more Black people are killed with impunity.

The reason Black people in Nigeria are demanding an end to SARS is the same reason Black people in the United States are demanding the defunding of police. The epidemic of police violence against Black people in a country led by Black faces proves what we have time and time again — violence imposed by law enforcement is about more than a few bad apples, the institution itself is irredeemable and exists to use violence to maintain a false sense of order in an unequal and unjust society. 

We join others around the world in demanding the Nigerian government end the attack on protestors and we call for justice for those who have been injured and killed by all Nigerian forces. We also echo the demands of our Nigerian siblings and demand:

1. The immediate and permanent dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

2. Justice for all those who have been killed by SARS officials

3. The end of profiling by Nigerian law enforcement agencies

Black people in Nigeria come from a powerful legacy of courage and resistance. This moment calls on Black people around the world to stand in solidarity with people in Nigeria as they demand an end to the violence caused by Nigerian forces. We know that in a world where harm from law enforcement still reigns, and the vestiges of colonialism are still palpable, we must stand together while calling for an end to the very systems that are responsible for our suffering. 

It is with this understanding that we condemn the current atrocities in Nigeria and recommit ourselves to a transnational struggle for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

We are one movement, one people, and we stand with the people of Nigeria. 

With love and solidarity 

The Movement for Black Lives

STATEMENT

September 23, 2020

Contact: press@m4bl.org

MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES STATEMENT ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE KILLING OF BREONNA TAYLOR

ATLANTAThe Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement after the Attorney General of Kentucky announced a meaningless indictment of first degree wanton endangerment against one of the three police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in her home on the night of March 13, 2020. Wanton endangerment, a low-level felony, is a charge often used in accidental injuries and implies minimal responsibility for the death or injury.

“The Movement for Black Lives and our millions of supporters around the globe stand with the family and community of Breonna Taylor in light of today’s toothless and gravely insufficient indictment brought against one of the officers who killed her. Alongside her community, we are outraged and prepared to activate our base to continue to organize for meaningful action for Breonna. 

“Even though three officers have Breonna’s blood on their hands, only one was charged, and with three counts of first degree wanton endangerment, a class D felony implying a low-level of responsibility for the death or injury. This charge is connected to shooting into the neighboring apartment unit, but not the murder of Breonna Taylor. To be sure, a wall — an inanimate object– has received more justice than Breonna Taylor did today. 

“This indictment is another clear and egregious reminder that the criminal-legal system in Louisville – and in this country – does not value Black people or see us as deserving of protection from those who’ve taken an oath to ‘protect and serve.’   

“For months, millions of outraged people in every state have called for all three officers responsible for Breonna’s murder to be fired, arrested, and charged with murder. Today’s paltry announcement is a grave miscarriage of justice — just like those in the cases of Alton Sterling, Jamar Clark, Terrence Crutcher, and countless others. 

“This decision, which was handed down 41 days before the most critical election in U.S. modern history, is intended to enable state-sanctioned violence against all Black communities and to obstruct people from asserting their first amendment right to protest.

“The Kentucky Attorney General shared his insufficient and faulty rationale for this decision during a press conference, condescending to a community that has been here countless times before. We know that Grand Juries indict 99.9 percent of the time, meaning prosecutors have tremendous power in what they choose to present. When Grand Juries do not indict, it is often because of a lack of will on the part of the state. To date, there have been no systemic changes in light of Breonna’s killing. The changes around no-knock warrants passed as part of Breonna’s Law do not cover the majority of warrants that result in unnecessary surprise invasions into people’s homes, and the commitment in the settlement to policy reform does not make substantive changes. 

“We will continue fighting to hold all three officers who killed Breonna accountable, to defund the Louisville police department and re-envision what public safety looks like in our country. We won’t stop until ALL Black people can live and thrive without fear of harm from the state. 

“We’re calling for all those who stand in defense of Black lives to support organizations in Louisville as they continue to mobilize people in this moment. If you’re able, send donations to:

Louisville Community Bail Fund:  bit.ly/LouCommBailFund

BLM General Fund: bit.ly/BLMLou

Anti Eviction Fund: bit.ly/evictionfund

Healing for Louisville: bit.ly/502healing

The six local demands are crystal clear: 

  1. Immediately fire and revoke the pensions of the officers that murdered Breonna. 
  2. Divest from LMPD and Invest in community building.
  3. The immediate resignation (or impeachment) of Mayor Greg Fischer. 
  4. Metro Council ends use of force by Louisville Metro Police Department. 
    1. Police shootings are gun violence.
  5. A local, civilian community police accountability council that is independent from the Mayor’s Office and LMPD with investigation and discipline power #CPAC.
  6. The creation of policy to ensure transparent investigation processes. 

“As we support our comrades in Louisville, we remain committed to the introduction and success of the BREATHE Act, the 21st century federal civil rights bill that divests from the harms of the criminal-legal system and invests in safe, healthy, and equitable communities. While today was another devastating day for those of us who believe in justice, and particularly for Breonna Taylor’s family and the families of others we’ve lost to state violence, they are not alone. 

The Movement for Black Lives will continue to carry Breonna with us as we march forward in pursuit of the justice we all deserve.”

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The Movement for Black Lives is a national network of more than 150 leaders and organizations creating a broad political home for Black people to learn, organize and take action. M4BL includes activists, organizers, academics, lawyers, educators, health workers, artists and more, all unified in a radical vision for Black liberation and working for equity, justice and healing.