By Keith Magee, Director, Social Justice Institute and Scholar in Residence at Elie Wiesel Center, Boston University
For the last four visible years America has endured, once again, the polarizing effects of racism and injustice. Yet, instead of the perpetrators wearing white sheets and lynching African Americans with coral ropes as they did decades prior, they now wear blue uniforms and use issued firearms. The loss of Trayvon, Eric, Tamir, Sandra, Freddie, Korryn, Alton, Terence, Keith, and all of the others we name, came not because their assassins feared them, but because they believed these lives didn’t matter. Secretly, I’ve wept at my core when I hear the news that they have taken another life. Even when I’m driving my car, with my two-year-old Zayden, I pray that our lives will matter. Continue reading
By Nicole Simone Rodrigues
By Leah Grady Sayvetz. Leah grew up in the Ithaca Catholic Worker community. After some years away she has moved back to her home town to join efforts in local social justice organizing, starting at the local level to effect change in the world.
On a Tuesday morning in early November, on my way driving to work, I was stopped at the bottom of Elm street by a traffic jam, not atypical for 8am on a week day. Thinking nothing of it, I patiently waited for vehicles to move on so that I could pull out onto Floral Ave. The car ahead of me seemed somewhat thoughtless in how they had stopped across a lane of traffic on Floral and did not appear to be moving. An elderly black man turned up Elm, having just come from the Martin Luther King Blvd bridge, and stopped his car next to mine to let out his passenger, a middle-aged black man. As I saw these two men say good bye, I realized that the driver of the car ahead of me, a white man, had just jumped out of his vehicle and was now pointing a gun at the younger of the two black men. It suddenly became clear that we were surrounded by undercover police. The cars behind us and ahead of us, the car which had just turned onto Floral Ave from MLK Blvd, and other cars waiting in line before the Floral Ave stop sign all carried men in regular dress who jumped out and surrounded this man on the side of the street. All of these under cover officers were white men. Many of them carried guns, some pointed their guns at the black man who had just gotten out of his friend’s car. I recognized the man being surrounded as someone I see a lot in my neighborhood- he is a neighbor who I know by face but not by name. The cops all wore civilian clothing of various styles, one man had long hair in a messy pony tail and a scruffy beard, they all wore calm and business-like expressions on their faces. Their demeanor communicated to everyone around that this was just business as usual: nothing to be alarmed about. Continue reading
Black Youth Project 100 leader Charlene Carruthers (center, seated) reminds her comrades that they are there because the Chicago mayor wants to allocate an additional $200 million to Chicago police department.
By Sarah Thompson, Executive Director of Christian Peacemaker Teams
Local chapters of Black Lives Matter and Jewish Voice for Peace coordinated actions in Chicago, Illinois on the weekend of October 24-25, 2015. CPTers attended the events, employing our public witness, human rights documentation, and nonviolent direct action support skills. We’re in the middle of a month-long training of 10 new recruits; people from across the organization—administrative team, field team, and a trainee—participated.
#BlackLivesMatter is homing in on ten specific proposals. Read the entire article here for a helpful update on the movement and a lot of really profound research.
1. End broken windows policing. This refers to a style of policing that goes after minor crimes and activities, based on the notion that letting minor crimes go unaddressed can foster and lead to even worse crimes in a community. In practice, this tactic has disproportionately impacted minority Americans — in New York City, the vast majority of stops in 2012 were of black or Hispanic people.
A Call to Worship written by Nick Peterson (photo: far right) for today’s service at Capitol Presbyterian of Harrisburg, PA:
The Lord be with you.
A year ago today, Michael Brown, Jr., an 18-year-old recent high school graduate while unarmed was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson in Fergson, MO. His death and others like Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Renisha McBride, and Oscar Grant sparked a national movement aimed at bringing awareness to racialized police violence and excessive use of force.