STATEMENT

Racial justice leaders, youth advocates and policy experts call on lawmakers to advance a community safety agenda that addresses root causes of violence and harm in their communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Movement for Black Lives, Color of Change, The Futures Institute and March for Our Lives, in partnership with the Community Safety Working Group, met with congressional lawmakers to explore policy solutions like The People’s Response Act that will create safer communities for all Americans. 

During the congressional briefing, youth organizers and Black movement leaders from across the country shared stories and presented data in support of a new approach to community safety that prevents harm, responds to crises and stops violence without increasing dependence on policing and prisons. 

Youth activists with March for Our Lives and Students Deserve who are leading powerful violence prevention efforts in their communities discussed new school programs that have already saved countless lives, and urged lawmakers to replicate these solutions nationally. 

“The impact will be hundreds of thousands of young people who were never cared for receiving the nurture that all children deserve,” said Amir Casimir, a youth organizer with Students Deserve. “I remember almost getting expelled for having a barbecue lighter at school. Rather than being threatened with voluntary probation and/or arrest, a young student like myself would be afforded counseling, or intervention, or even just respect or understanding of the circumstance.”

Recent data supports Amir and his peers’ calls for alternative crisis responses. Dr. Cathy Cohen and Dr. Kumar Ramanathan with GenForward Research at the University of Chicago explored findings from the Perspectives on Community Safety from Black America report, which analyzes data from a comprehensive survey of Black Americans on experiences with and perspectives on alternatives to policing and incarceration. The data suggests consistent and robust support for alternatives to policing and incarceration among Black communities in the United States, especially when presented with specific solutions that prioritize mental health and violence prevention. 

To realize their shared vision for community safety, leaders with the Movement for Black Lives called on Congress to advance a federal legislative agenda that would increase federal investments in people and communities, not policing and prisons: the Community Safety Agenda. With landmark legislation including The Mental Health Justice Act, The Break The Cycle of Violence Act, and The People’s Response Act, passing the Community Safety Agenda would be a critical first step to transforming public safety for all. 

“Our communities are not just demanding bold action from their elected officials, we are already developing community-based programs that keep us safe, from 911 alternatives to mental health services,” said Dr. Amara Enyia, Director for Policy and Research at the Movement for Black Lives.” We know that these solutions work, and we know that we can do more to defend Black lives. Congress has an opportunity to make a historic investment in our survival and safety by passing the People’s Response Act.” 

The People’s Response Act is the first BREATHE-inspired bill introduced in Congress that would advance a health-centered approach to public safety. The bill, which would make critical investments in policing alternatives that center violence prevention and mental health, has earned support from more than 70 advocacy organizations and several House Democrats, including Reps. Cori Bush (MO-01), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), and Katie Porter (CA-47), Lloyd Doggett, Lloyd (TX-37), Valerie Foushee (NC-4), Jonathan Jackson, (IL-1) and Robert Garcia (CA-42). 

“We have to listen to folks who are on the ground and doing the work. We are all that we have all too often,” said Jillian Burford, Policy Organizer with Harriet’s Wildest Dreams. “This funding would be life-changing. It could help us in our schools, churches, and recreation centers. D.C. has a very unique identity of statelessness and would benefit from having the full support of the federal government to keep our folks safe.”

For more information about the Community Safety Agenda, or to schedule interviews with The Movement for Black Lives, please contact m4bl@berlinrosen.com.

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

Black leaders in 20 cities across the country will organize for non-police crisis responses to emergencies in service to building safer, healthier communities

Today, the Movement for Black Lives launched the 2024 People’s Response Campaign: Emergencies in Better Hands, a national campaign aimed at advancing public safety solutions that center the needs and experiences of Black communities by treating community safety as a public health issue.  

Through local organizing initiatives such as the Dream Defender’s Healing and Justice Center, federal policy, and voter engagement, the People’s Response Campaign seeks to end a growing epidemic of police violence against Black and Brown people in crisis by establishing non-carceral mental health responses that Black Americans strongly support. 

The Perspectives on Community Safety from Black America report M4BL released in partnership with GenForward at the University of Chicago, which analyzes data from a comprehensive survey of Black Americans on experiences with policing and perspectives on alternatives to policing and incarceration, found consistent and robust support for alternatives to policing and incarceration among Black communities in the United States, especially when presented with specific solutions that prioritize mental health and violence prevention.  

According to the report, nine in 10 Black Americans would call a mental health crisis center instead of the police, if available in their community. Eighty-six percent expressed support for creating a new agency of first responders that specialize in de-escalation and mental health support. Nearly 68 percent of Black Americans support reinvesting part of their community’s police budgets toward crucial areas, such as health care, education, and housing, while 55 percent support reallocating entire police budgets toward such investments.

“For too long, our people have been forced to turn to police for safety during moments of crisis, only for those encounters to become deadly. A system that meets people in need of care with violence is broken and it’s time for something new,” said Celeste Faison, co-Executive Director for the Movement for Black Lives. “The People’s Response Campaign is a critical shift away from overreliance on policing and incarceration toward a new public safety approach that ensures every community feels safe.” 

This campaign is powered by the People’s Response Campaign Fellows, individuals from 20 Black-led organizations across the country who are building local support for alternative public safety solutions, and leading powerful electoral justice efforts in their communities. The Movement for Black Lives will collaborate with each organization to develop campaigns in their municipalities and counties for community-led safety responses that invest in people’s mental health and wellness while creating real solutions for safety away from policing, jails, and prisons. They will also drive support for the People’s Response Act, the first BREATHE-inspired bill introduced in Congress that would advance a health-centered approach to public safety. 

“We have the power to keep ourselves safe,” said Megan Castillo with Black Lives Matter LA. “With this new partnership, we can develop community-led responses that will have a direct impact on Black lives. We look forward to uplifting the aspirations and experiences of our people to build a better future.”

With a pivotal election fast approaching, this campaign will also focus on building the movement’s electoral power by advancing state ballot initiatives aligned with the Vision for Black Lives, and creating voter engagement strategies that will encourage Black voters to make their voices heard at the ballot box. 

“Our communities are energized and inspired to reimagine public safety in every corner of our country,” said Rukia Lumumba, Director of the Movement for Black Lives’ Electoral Justice Project. “This year, we have the opportunity to build on this momentum and demand a people’s response to public safety at the ballot box. Across this nation we have seen alternatives to police that keep us safe. We have seen community-based programs like credible messengers, violence interrupters and community response hotlines save lives, prevent deaths and stop violence. Yet, we see police violence on the rise with cop cities being created in over 50 cities, escalating police violence against students and professors, increased funding for weapons, and decreased funding for hospitals, healthcare and mental health services. Our work at this moment is critical. We must demand an investment in community led and driven public safety services that prevent violence, care for our loved ones and heal our communities. Now is the time to organize in our communities and at the polls for a people’s response to public safety. ” 

For more information on the People’s Response Campaign, or to schedule interviews with The Movement for Black Lives or the campaign fellows, please contact m4bl@berlinrosen.com.

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.

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

In response to the ICJ’s recent ruling on Israel’s genocidal acts in Palestine

We, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), are heartened that the International Court of Justice declined Israel’s request to throw out South Africa’s genocide case, but today’s ruling does not go far enough. Stopping short of calling for a ceasefire allows Israel to continue its brutal siege of Palestinian territories. Since October 2023, nearly 26,000 Palestinians have been killed. More than 64,000 people have been injured. 

We have joined the rest of the world in calling for an end to Israel’s brutal actions: mass displacement, bombing of hospitals, targeting and killing of journalists, and mass slaughter of children. Though the Court has said it is plausible that Israel’s actions constitute genocide, this moment calls for decisive action to stop Israel’s violence. Indeed, the Israeli security minister has stated that the Court’s decision should not be heeded. This mindset does not bode well for Israel’s commitment to the Court’s mandate. 

Our charge to end militarism and state-sanctioned violence globally calls us to remember that everyone suffers when states strip the vulnerable of their autonomy, dignity, and right to live in safety. We have seen the impact of militarism and imperialism—in Africa, where Western imperialism has fomented conflict and created instability; in Haiti, where it  has undermined sovereignty and decimated infrastructure; and in numerous other places around the world, where Western military hegemony has wreaked havoc and eroded the will and power of the people. We have a responsibility to call out atrocities, as well as condemn militarism and put a stop to the violence it begets. 

Every day that passes means more loss of life and emboldens Israel to continue its settler-colonial ambitions. We call on the International Court of Justice to recognize the gravity of these conditions and deliver a decisive call for a ceasefire and a halt to Israel’s actions when they reconvene in one month. 

We demand that the Biden Administration call for a ceasefire now, and immediately halt the provision of military weapons and aid to Israel. The Biden Administration must push for the release of humanitarian aid and efforts for Palestinians. 

We will continue to lift our voices in solidarity with Palestinians and all oppressed peoples.

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) 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.

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.

Cover image of the Perspectives on Community Safety From Black America report

December 5, 2023

CONTACT: press@M4BL.org

New Report Shows 67% of Black Americans Support Divestment from Police Departments, Investing in Policing Alternatives

New data from The Movement for Black Lives and GenForward Research “Perspectives on Community Safety from Black America” report also suggests that language plays a significant role in support for alternative public safety solutions 

NATIONAL – Following nearly a decade of dedicated and impactful movement work, a new survey released today by The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and GenForward at the University of Chicago finds consistent and robust support for alternatives to policing and incarceration among Black communities in the United States. 

Sixty-seven percent of Black Americans support reallocating part of police budgets toward investments in health care, education, and housing, and other areas, while 55% support divestment from police departments and allocating entire police budgets toward such investments, according to the data from the survey. The data also suggests that Black Americans have a strong desire to reimagine public safety, especially through new initiatives that would increase funding for community resources and solutions that emphasize prevention, addressing root causes of violence, and support for those formerly incarcerated.

The “Perspectives on Community Safety from Black America” report analyzes data from a comprehensive survey of Black Americans on experiences with policing and perspectives on alternatives to policing and incarceration. M4BL and GenForward surveyed a nationally representative sample of Black people in the United States, with oversamples that enable analysis of perspectives across geographic regions, age, gender, and partisanship. 

“With systemic racism and police violence deeply embedded in our existing systems, we sought to understand how Black people of different backgrounds are thinking about community safety, and how their experiences with policing and incarceration inform their perspectives,” said M. Adams and Celeste Faison, co-National Directors for the Movement for Black Lives. “The ‘Perspectives on Community Safety from Black America’ report illustrates what we have long known – Black people in America are calling for divestment from carceral systems and investment in policing alternatives. We are encouraged by the strong support for alternatives as we continue pushing for effective public safety solutions that truly reflect the needs and experiences of our communities. Now is the time to advance alternatives our people want and implement them into policies that will create safer environments for us all.”

The report provides important insights into the diverse perspectives of Black people when it comes to policing. Nearly three-quarters of Black people view police killings as a “serious” or “very serious” problem, and recognize it as a systemic problem. Half of respondents expressed that they always or sometimes fear contacting police in crisis and emergency situations, and yet, 55% said they would “always” or “almost always” call the police if they needed help. The contrasting findings highlight a painful reality for Black communities: a fear of contacting police, who are meant to serve and protect without bias, alongside an understanding that there are few alternatives to turn to when in need.

“The findings allow us to begin to understand the nuanced and complex perspectives Black people hold about the subjects of public safety and policing,” said Dr. Cathy Cohen, Principal Investigator and Founder of GenForward Research, and the David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. “This data also provides a rare opportunity for Black people to speak for themselves, collectively, telling their truth about policing in their communities and their desires for new, often community-based, methods of producing public safety.”

According to the data in the report, the language used to describe policing alternatives also matters when measuring Black Americans’ support for these measures. For example, 33% of respondents expressed support for defunding the police, and 15% expressed support for abolishing the police, but when asked about supporting or opposing divesting from police departments and putting part of police budgets toward healthcare, education, and housing, support among respondents increased to 67%.

When asked about specific policing alternatives that emphasize community safety rather than general calls for divestment and investment, support among Black Americans for such possibilities was overwhelming. Eighty-six percent of Black Americans expressed support for creating a new agency of first responders specializing in de-escalating violence and providing mental health support, while 78% expressed support for city officials investing in public safety measures that do not rely on incarceration.

“The data is clear – we need public safety solutions that are rooted in prevention and mental health, rather than increased incarceration and policing. Traditional policing methods can never deliver the kind of safety our people deeply desire; only a shift in public resources toward community-based initiatives can begin to address underlying issues of poverty, racism, mental health, and education, ” said Dr. Amara Enyia, Policy and Research Director for the Movement for Black Lives. “The data presents an opportunity for lawmakers to also advance effective policies that center the needs and perspectives of Black communities, starting with the People’s Response Act and the Vision for Black Lives.”

For more information on the “Perspectives on Community Safety from Black America” report, or to schedule interviews with The Movement for Black Lives and GenForward Research, please contact press@m4bl.org.

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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.

The GenForward Survey at the University of Chicago is the first of its kind—a nationally representative survey of over 3,000 people that amplifies the voices of young adults by oversampling African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinx Americans 40 and under. GenForward pays special attention to how race, ethnicity, and systems of marginalization shape how young adults experience and think about the world.

Statement

June 29, 2023

CONTACT: press@M4BL.org

Movement for Black Lives Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision to End Affirmative Action in College Admissions

After the Supreme Court scrapped decades of precedent, and ruled to overturn affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement: 

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, we witnessed yet another devastating blow in a coordinated attack against this nations’ most impacted communities. Affirmative action policies were designed as a critical intervention to address structural and systemic racism and discrimination by developing more civil rights protections in our society. Institutions of higher education were blatantly discriminating against Black people, and these policies were put in place to respond to generations of discrimination and harm. They were never intended to be a panacea. Over time, and after facing numerous legal and political challenges, affirmative action became a tool for fostering diversity, rather than addressing systemic harms, weakening their impact. 

Despite this, we believe every tool in the toolbox is necessary to dismantle anti-Black racism that persists within and across institutions throughout the country. Today’s Supreme Court decision takes the country backward. There is no such thing as a ‘colorblind’ policy. We need policies that address past and ongoing wrongs against Black people – wrongs perpetrated by institutions across the board. “Colorblind” policies only lock in the status quo – a status quo that automatically benefits whiteness and disadvantages everything and everyone else. 

Because of the Court’s decision, Black students will lose access to the educational and economic opportunities they deserve, while their white peers are nearly assured admissions as legacy applicants. When the University of California ended affirmative action admissions at its schools in 1996, not only did enrollment for Black and Latino students drop by 40 percent the following year, but they were less likely to get their degree, attend graduate school, and even earned less money throughout their careers. Similarly, when Michigan banned affirmative action at its state public universities in 2006, Black enrollment at the University of Michigan dropped from 7 percent then, to just 4 percent now. 

It is also egregious that race-conscious admissions are now viewed as categorically and legally unnecessary for academic institutions, but will remain in place for military academies. With this arbitrary exemption the Court has made it abundantly clear that they view Black people as fit for military service and upholding the United States’ military interests, but not worthy of civil rights protections in higher education or other institutions.

History continues to remind us that ignoring race and in this case, preventing the consideration of race, will not end racism. Despite the fact that Asian Americans were the face of this legal challenge, we know that dismantling race-conscious policies in admission will not ultimately serve AAPI students. Any strategies that pit people of color against each other, without addressing historical harms, only affirm white supremacy. The impact of this decision will extend beyond the realm of education to the private sector, government contracting, and other places where the weight of the Court mitigated the impact of discriminatory policies. The Court’s majority opinion uses the 14th amendment to further entrench racial discrimination. This should worry all of us who care about racial justice and Black liberation.  

The Court’s ruling underscores the importance of implementing our Vision for Black Lives in order to mitigate the harms caused by white supremacy in this country. We demand reparations for the systemic denial of access to high quality educational opportunities through the offering of complete open access for all to free public university, college and technical education programs (including technology, trade and agricultural), as well as full-fledged funding for lifelong learning programs that support communities and families. We also seek the forgiveness of all federal student loans, and the total coverage of all housing and living costs associated with higher education. These policies should apply to everyone, and focus on outreach to communities historically denied access to education, including undocumented, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people.

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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 Defending Our Freedom to Learn 

In response to recent attacks on Black studies, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

The organizations and individuals that make up the Movement for Black Lives Ecosystem express our collective outrage at the persistent racist attacks on Black studies, critical race theory, intersectionality, and queer studies—frameworks for analyzing and explaining the workings of race, class, gender, sexuality, and power in our society. These intellectual projects help students think critically about how society is organized by concrete systems of power while creating direct links to contemporary struggles. These projects strengthen our society by rejecting anti-Blackness and including all of us.

To thwart progress and stir division ahead of a highly contested presidential election, some state officials are waging disinformation campaigns against Advanced Placement African American Studies, a course for high-school students designed by the College Board. Ron DeSantis, presidential hopeful and governor of Florida, refused to approve this course; according to him, it violates Florida’s draconian yet ridiculous “Stop Woke Act,” which bans the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts.”  

As of this spring, 28 states have adopted a so-called “anti-woke” measure that bans the teaching of these frameworks. These measures impact more than 22 million children in public schools and millions more students in public universities. Under these laws, virtually any analysis or explanation of how race, class, gender, sexuality, and power operate in our society can be deemed “divisive” and summarily banned. Crucial ideas are censored or at risk of being censored nationwide. 

Suppression of critical ideas is a historic hallmark of fascism and authoritarianism worldwide. By censoring this knowledge, leaders of the so-called “anti-woke” agenda are advancing a vast and dangerous attack on Black and other social movements that are not limited to banning books and curricula. Rather, they extend into the criminalization of protest; the right-wing capture of judicial and legislative institutions; the entrenchment of forced birth; and the restriction of transgender people’s freedoms, rights, and healthcare access.

Despite saying otherwise, the College Board, a billion-dollar corporation that controls the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and other exclusionary tests, caved to political pressure by erasing or downgrading critical frameworks, including intersectionality, queer studies, and critical race theory.

The relationship between liberatory frameworks like Black studies and a more free society is not abstract. These study areas threaten the status quo because they reveal longstanding myths and lies about U.S. power structures and inspire students to better understand their collective and individual experiences. These frameworks emerged from the lives of oppressed groups and their struggles for freedom and justice in the U.S. and globally. Crucially, they connect the legacy of oppression and resistance to the present. For example, the murder of Emmet Till seven decades ago and the emergence of protests in its wake is directly connected to today’s movement against vigilante and state-sanctioned racialized violence.

Bad-faith actors wage the attack against “wokeness” under the guise of “protecting children.” But by seeking to censor Black studies and critical analysis like queer theory and intersectionality, these right-wing forces have made their intentions clear: They intend to erase and suppress any focus on systemic racism and other forms of oppression, in order to thwart resistance and undermine our collective future.

Previous generations fought hard for Black voices, stories, struggles, and biographies to be written, heard, and made part of the curricula. We will not settle for a watered-down version of Black studies that disadvantages students. We will not cave to the attempts to censor and muzzle ideas and knowledge that are key to our work. Nor will we be silent in the face of authoritarian efforts at thought control designed to undermine our movements for freedom and justice. 

Make some noise on May 3. Our ancestors demand it!

To resist, we call for a National Day of Action against these attacks on May 3. We call for:

  1. The reinstatement of the original curriculum by the College Board
  2. The resignation of the College Board CEO 
  3. A commitment from universities that they will support uncensored Black studies and not endorse AP tests based on censored curricula

You can also participate by:

  1. Coordinating an event (e.g., teach-in, banned book reading, town hall convening, rally, etc.) at your school, on your campus, outside, in your public library, or at your community gathering space
  2. Coordinating activities at state capitols or state offices where anti-CRT and anti-DEI laws, book banning, anti-trans legislation, voter suppression, anti-abortion laws, and rejection of the AP African American Studies courses have been enacted or are being proposed (for those in the states where no such laws have been enacted or proposed, coordinate activities in support of expanding equity initiatives in your state)

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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 the 2023 State of the Union Address

After President Biden delivered his 2023 State of the Union Address, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

“Black voters elected President Biden to transform public safety, expand voting rights, defend our democracy, and pass sweeping measures to advance racial justice in this country. The last two years have made it clear that our electoral support has earned us nearly nothing in return.

In his remarks, President Biden painted a picture of life in the US that almost entirely ignored what it means to be Black in this country. He touted an improving economy and a subsiding pandemic as indicators that the state of the union is strong when we know that economic growth often happens at the expense of Black low-wage workers. Our system of racial capitalism remains strong. President Biden and his administration have focused more on a war abroad in Ukraine than a war on our people at home. Last month alone, police officers murdered Keenan Anderson, Manuel Esteban Páez Terán, better known as Tortuguita, and Tyre Nichols—whose parents Biden called “courageous, ” while also calling for more “training” and other ineffective reforms that while in place did not prevent the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner or George Floyd.

While Biden touts historic wins for Democrats during the midterm elections, discriminatory voting laws violate our civil rights. He travels the country boasting his bipartisan infrastructure law while these upgrades fail to reach our communities. We fear white supremacist violence daily, asylum seekers are turned away from our borders, our history and ideas are being erased from classroom discussions, anti-LGBTQ sentiments are targeting Black queer communities disproportionately, and we are more vulnerable to criminalization, surveillance, and harm since the fall of Roe – the list goes on.

​With each call for piecemeal reforms that maintain the status quo or stalled progress on his promised policies, Biden strays further from the progressive action our communities demand. How can those promises be realized as he condemns our movement for Black liberation, praises and funnels money to law enforcement, and does little to combat the white supremacist extremism that terrorizes our communities?

We demand President Biden invest in communities and divest from deadly policing, including urging Georgia to halt Cop City and other police projects that take resources away from interventions that grant our communities real safety. We are also demanding he tells the Department of Justice to end the criminalization of protests. This Trump-era policy has significantly impacted those protesting for Black lives and environmental justice – this includes granting amnesty to those arrested due to these reactionary statutes and ordering their immediate release.

President Biden cannot deliver the transformative change that Black people deserve while upholding the racist institutions that enable our oppression, nor can he ask for the support of Black voters while ignoring the violent conditions this country forces them to endure. We demand sustained commitment from our elected leaders at all levels of government, bold solutions that will move us forward, and a better future for our communities, as outlined in our Vision for Black Lives. Now, more than ever, it is essential to remember that the union is only as strong as the state of all its members – for the wellbeing of our communities, we have a long way to go.”

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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

M4BL Brazil Statement 2022

For Immediate Release: September 30, 2022

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is in solidarity with poor, oppressed, and disenfranchised folks in Brazil as they build power to change conditions for their people by not only electing Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, but also by electing Black movement leaders like Douglas Belchoir and Vilma Reis.

We know that our Black, indigenous, poor, and working-class siblings in Brazil have faced heightened crises and terror under the racist and right wing regime of Bolsonaro. This election is an opportunity to reject authoritarianism, neoliberalism, racism, and patriarchy. It is also an opportunity to amplify demands that call for the healing of the Amazon, respect for the humanity and dignity of every Brazilian, and an end to state violence.

Those of us engaged in the struggle for economic democracy, Black liberation, climate justice and gender justice, see this election as a potentially critical pivot in the global struggle for a free and just world.

​The organizing campaigns and debates underway in Brazil, especially Black, indigenous, working class, landless and feminist groups, has already shifted the balance of power. M4BL understands that our liberation is intertwined with the liberation of Black and oppressed people everywhere, and we commit to the work that is required of us. As with every election, everywhere, in Brazil, we hope for an electoral outcome that affirms the needs of oppressed people, empowers movements for justice, and puts our friends, family and comrades on a better footing to fight for freedom and liberation. The struggles there continue to inspire us in the United States and around the world.

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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 Police Murder of Tyre Nichols

As the Memphis Police Department prepares to release footage of the five Memphis police officers brutally beating Tyre Nichols, a beating that resulted in his death, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

On January 7, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a passionate skateboarder and amateur photographer, was hospitalized and died after being brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers, who all happened to be Black.

In the last two weeks alone, M4BL has released two responses to police murders of Black people during traffic stops—an indictment of America’s violent, anti-Black and deadly carceral system, which includes police, police unions, prisons, and more. Earlier this month, Los Angeles Police tased father and English teacher Keenan Anderson to death. We know the only way to prevent deaths such as Mr. Anderson’s and Mr. Nichol’s is to take power and funding away from police and to reduce contact between Black communities and the police significantly.

In Tyre’s case, the police officers tased, pepper-sprayed, restrained, and violently beat him for three long minutes. This type of violence illustrates how irredeemable an institution policing is, primarily because it is rooted in upholding white supremacy and state-sanctioned violence, no matter the racial or gendered makeup of the officer. Despite attempted reforms—like these in Memphis—police forces cannot diversify or restructure their way into becoming just institutions, and no reform will end the intentional and incessant terrorizing of Black communities. 

​The five police officers have been fired from the Memphis police force and indicted on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression. While notably more aggressive than other police murders, it is insufficient and won’t bring Tyre back or prevent future police murders.

We’ll continue to say what Black organizers have said for generations. To achieve true justice for Tyre Nichols, Keenan Anderson, and the untold number of Black people whose lives have been stolen by police, we need to defund the police and conduct an overhaul of public safety in the U.S. That overhaul starts with passing legislation inspired by the BREATHE Act—a comprehensive approach to public safety that divests from brutal and discriminatory policing and invests in community-based alternatives. 

Together with the official Black Lives Matter Memphis chapter in support of their coalition partners, Decarcerate Memphis, we demand that the city of Memphis:

  • Pass the Data Transparency ordinance;
  • End the use of pretextual traffic stops, unmarked cars, and plainclothes officers; 
  • Dissolves the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods (SCORPION) unit, Organized Crime Unit (OCU), and Multi agency Gang Unit (MGU); 
  • And ends the use of task forces and removes police from traffic enforcement entirely;

We grieve with Tyre’s family, friends, and the Memphis community. Had those officers not pulled Tyre over, he would be here right now with his four-year-old son, taking photos of sunsets and skateboarding, his passion since he was a child. Yet, even as we try to grieve, support Tyre’s family, and take to the streets to demand justice, accountability, and a new vision of public safety, we know the police are ramping up to criminalize our actions—meeting our calls for justice and accountability with more state violence and suppression. 

You can show support by donating to the official Black Lives Matter Memphis chapter’s bail fund.

It’s up to us to tear down violent, anti-Black systems of oppression and invest in our people. These step-by-step guides, created by the Movement for Black Lives, have the tools to craft community safety policies at the state and local levels. Together, we can keep our communities safe and demand progressive action to end police violence.”

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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: on Police Murder of Forest Defender Tortuguita

After a Georgia State Patrol Officer violently killed beloved forest defender Manuel Esteban Páez Terán, known to friends and loved ones as Tortuguita, on January 18, The Black Hive – the Movement for Black Lives’ climate and environmental justice initiative – issued the following statement:

We are heartbroken for Tortuguita and their family, and are once again asking ourselves why our people must be gunned down fighting for change. The police, who claim there is no video of the incident, were the sole witnesses to this killing and have not released the details of Tortuguita’s death. This is unacceptable. We demand justice for Tortuguita and full accountability for those responsible for their death. 

Tortuguita was encamped, fighting against the “Cop City” project, trying to stop the destruction of 85 acres of the Weelaunee forest in the backyard of a Black working-class neighborhood. 

To be clear: robbing a forest from a Black community – which is already disproportionately affected by environmental racism – and replacing it with a militarized police training ground for people that could one day kill them is indefensible. 

Yet despite months of public outcry and community organizing, the Atlanta Police Foundation continues to move forward with this direct threat to Black lives. “Cop City” – an attempt to restore a prison farm – will train police in crowd control and urban warfare techniques, and go so far as to build a “shoot house” where they can practice shooting civilians. In short: “Cop City” will teach police how to be more violent – all in a Black Atlanta neighborhood’s backyard.

Moreover, Governor Kemp has declared a ‘state of emergency’ that threatens to intervene and criminalize us even as we are grieving. Our calls for justice and accountability have only been met with more state violence.

Free the land. Land is tied to our existence, dignity, and the survival of Black communities. Land provides Black communities with nourishment, housing, and healing. As it did for the Muscogee Creek people before they were violently displaced. Colonization caused the climate crisis and climate destruction. As a reparative measure, Black-owned land is a legacy taken in tandem with our stolen labor and hundreds of years of skilled, caring, and successful stewardship. Land determines the destinies of our communities – and our right to access and steward unspoiled, untainted, and restored land sets the conditions for all other access rights. 

“Cop cities” – in Atlanta and elsewhere – have no business existing, especially not in our communities. We deserve community care and healthy environments (as outlined in our Black Climate Mandate), not to have our green spaces demolished and be terrorized by militarized police. For Tortuguita and the entire Southeast Atlanta community, we will continue to support your work in defending our forests and work collectively to stop “Cop cities” everywhere.

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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 Police Funding Bills

After the House of Representatives passed the Invest to Protect Act, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

Yesterday, nearly 30 years after the signing of the 1994 Crime Bill, which drove mass incarceration, disproportionately impacting Black people and people of color, the House of Representatives and the majority of the Congressional Black Caucus renewed their unfettered allegiance to law enforcement by investing $60 million a year for five years in police departments. This is a significant and sustained investment that will only worsen the damage caused by the Crime Bill. The same legislators who supported failed tough-on-crime policies decades ago are once again awarding grants to institutions that harm communities.

For decades, lawmakers have bolstered the federal budget for policing even though most voters want to see investments in more effective public safety measures like prevention and mental health services. While we commend the House’s decision to block the COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act, which would have doubled federal funding for police hiring and recruitment, it does not negate the harm caused by passing the Invest to Protect Act. In far too many Black, brown and Indigenous communities, hospitals are closing, schools are losing funding and qualified teachers, and community-wide services that strengthen overall outcomes and wellbeing are limited by lack of resources. The safest communities don’t have the most police, they have the most resources. This multi-million dollar investment in police departments would allow local governments to flood our streets with thousands of new officers, once again giving police the power to intervene on issues they’re not qualified or trained to solve.

While we promote the alternative approaches to incarceration and policing, offered by the Mental Health Justice Act and the Break the Cycle of Violence Act, this legislative package remains Congress’ latest political ploy to throw money at ineffective policies in order to maintain power, overlooking decades of deadly police practices and failed reforms. This is just another effort to grow our nation’s outsized police forces, sustain their oppressive tactics and further traumatize another generation of Black and brown families.

There is no evidence that additional police funding produces safety for anyone, especially as the U.S. leads the world in gun violence, criminalization and incarceration. In fact, police departments have received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding this year alone without any accountability measures. No amount of officer training, body cameras, or so-called accountability measures will bring back the lives taken at the hands of police or prevent those that will be taken in the future.

Our families and communities deserve real pathways to healing and stability, not another 1994 Crime Bill. Congress can end this pattern of police violence by pursuing a comprehensive and evidence-based legislative package that is rooted in community-based strategies for public safety. We ask that Congress pass The People’s Response Act, which delivers the transformational change that our communities have been asking for: significant investments in public health, violence prevention programs, and community infrastructure. These policies would create more opportunities to build safer, thriving communities.

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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 Police Murder of Keenan Anderson

After Los Angeles police brutally murdered Keenan Darnell Anderson on Jan. 3, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

“On January 3rd, a traffic stop became a death sentence for Keenan Darnell Anderson. Instead of giving Keenan the help he needed following a traffic accident, police tased him to death – all while he cried out George Floyd’s name.

Keenan was a devoted father to his six-year-old son, a beloved high school English teacher, a cousin, and a friend. He was just 31 years old when police ended his life.

Within 48 hours of that day, the Los Angeles Police Department also killed 45-year-old Takar Smith and 35-year-old Oscar Sanchez. Their murders continue to underscore the familiar pattern of police violence and lack of accountability that leaves our families and communities devastated and traumatized. While elected officials bashed our efforts to defund the police and upped investments to law enforcement last year, police killings reached their highest record in nearly a decade.

Police will never keep our communities safe. No amount of so-called ‘reforms’ will bring back the lives taken at the hands of police, or prevent those that will be taken in the future. The time is now for a transformation and reimagination of public safety in the U.S.

This work starts with #NoCopsatTrafficStops. Los Angeles must end police stops for minor traffic violations and enact community-based strategies for public safety, including significant investments in public health, violence prevention programs, and community infrastructure.

To the family, friends and students of Keenan Anderson and all those lost at the hands of the police: we are grieving with you, and we are fighting for you. We will not rest until we achieve the transformational change that will bring self-determination, safety and justice to our communities.”

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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

For Immediate Release: December 5, 2022

Today, the Black Hive at the Movement for Black Lives released the following statement condemning renewed efforts by Congressional leadership to sneak Senator Manchin’s zombie “permitting reform” bill in favor of fossil fuels forever into a forced vote within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“Congressional leaders have, again, chosen to sacrifice Black communities in order to check a box on the fossil fuel industry’s deregulation checklist. It is appalling that Congressional leaders would attempt to force this vote through while we still mourn the loss of Rep. A. Donald McEachin — a man who dedicated his life to environmental justice for all. This deal shamefully empowers the fossil fuel industry at the expense of the people and principles Rep. McEachin stood for.

Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer should know better than to take this position when the communities they represent have made it clear that this deal favors polluters and profiteers. We are monitoring the situation as the House and Senate consider legislation that includes community rebuked and roundly rejected “permitting reform” language.

We remind our elected leaders to remember those who they actually represent — the people. And we demand that no matter the vehicle, our elected leaders remember their real mandate, and represent Black communities, the poor, rural, urban, and all others who reject regressive speed for poisonous sacrifice zones, today or tomorrow.

The Black Hive at the Movement for Black Lives is a growing collective of over 200 climate and environmental justice organizations and Black leaders. Earlier this year, The Black Hive directed thousands of emails, calls, and tweets to members of Congress to help stop Senator Manchin’s side deal. Now we are re-releasing the toolkit to support movement pressure on Congressional leadership to block Manchin’s toxic deal and protect Black Lives from political gamesmanship.”

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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 Executive Order to Pardon all Federal Offenses for Simple Marijuana Possession

After President Biden announced a pardon of all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession, the Movement for Black Lives issued the following statement:

President Biden’s pardons are long overdue and come after years of calls for action from Black communities. While it is a victory for survivors, advocates, organizers and communities who have been calling for change, much work remains to address the harms of America’s marijuana policies and broader “war on drugs,” which has been a primary driver of mass criminalization, incarceration, and police violence targeting Black people over the past five decades, devastating families, communities, and generations. 

Today, we call for more action to address the harms of America’s marijuana policies and broader “war on drugs.” Marijuana is already legal in 19 states and decriminalized in 31, and five more states will vote on legalization in November. Now is the time to deschedule marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge criminal records for all drug-related offenses, which have prevented far too many people from accessing housing, employment and education. These actions must also be extended to undocumented people who under this executive order would still be detained or deported for marijuana possession. We can’t wait any longer to address the harm of policies that have criminalized, incarcerated and violently targeted our communities. 

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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 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.