This post is a part I of a three part blog series and RG campaign, “It Starts Today: Moving $1 Million to Black-Led, Black Liberation Organizing.” Click here for more info on the campaign.
Written by: Lily Andrews, bex kolins, Jason Rodney, and Jen Willsea
“We fight in the name of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, killed by Detroit Police at the age of 7 years old, who never got to graduate from elementary school. We fight in the name of Mike Brown, who was killed by officer Darren Wilson, weeks before starting college. We fight in the name of Islan Nettles, a 21 year old Black trans woman who was pummeled to death outside a NYC police station in Harlem.”
– State of the Black Union, by BlackLivesMatter¹
In the midst of everything, this blog post is a call to let our attention rest on one fact: the struggle for Black lives continues to move. Are we moving with it?
In the Resource Generation community, we believe this moment is a tipping point for the Black liberation movement. As four young white folks with access to wealth, and the authors of this blog post, we believe that it is incumbent that we show up and make an investment in what promises to be a pivotal moment in our lives and in the movement for Black lives.
This is why we are going to move $1 million to Black-led organizing for Black liberation by May 20th, 2015.
Are you in? Make a commitment to give and be involved.
May 20th, 2015 would have been Mike Brown’s 19th birthday. Where were you on your 19th birthday? At college? Studying abroad? Had you already been told of the money you would inherit from your family, or had you already received your first financial gift?
We write from across the country – California, Alabama, Georgia, and New York. We write from complicated class stories, and with different histories of how we came to understand racism.
age 17, when a young Latina told me of racial profiling and asked if I would be afraid of riding with Black men on a bus
age 16, when my mom asked a Black mother in our church “Why would you have to teach your sons to put their hands on the dashboard when the police approach?”
We write this to all readers who see their liberation tied to Black liberation movement, and invite you to explore how your complex identity places you in in this work.
How I am responding to the call to action (by Lily Andrews)
As I attend BlackLivesMatter rallies, showing up as a donor or a white ally; as I read articles on creating an economic plan to make BlackLivesMatter; as I become more deeply involved in this donor-organizing campaign, I am constantly trying to follow the lead of Black organizers and thinkers, and also take the lead on figuring how to best bring myself to the movement as an effective resource. I am continuously inspired by patience of those who have been fighting for way too long; and by the love and grace of the movement leaders who do not have to accept me or bring me into the fold of their organizing, but do so anyway. And, I see why having money buys me access to spaces where I otherwise might not have a place.
Try saying this out loud. (Even better if there are other people in the room.)
“This year, I live into deeper conviction & bolder action to END state violence against Black people.”
This is an exhilarating time to be activated. The Black liberation movement has broken down massive walls in our mainstream dialogue. It has opened up space for fundamental shifts in our country. The mainstream media is reporting on police violence and racism every day. School districts are making The New Jim Crow required reading for their staff. People are mobilizing daily on a massive scale and putting anti-Black racism at the center of their work. The movement is winning action from the federal government within weeks of making demands.
This moment is absolutely unprecedented.
And so is the urgency. Because for those of us with privilege it is easy to forget the brutal impact of racism and capitalism, here is the state of our democracy today:
“The median wealth for single white women is $42,600. For Black women, it’s $5.00
The infant mortality rate for Black mothers is more than double that of white mothers, due to factors like poverty, lack of access to health care, and the physiological effects of stress caused by living under structural oppression
22 states have passed new voter restrictions since 2010, disenfranchising as many as 34 million Americans, most of them Black
In our country 1 in 3 Black men will be incarcerated in their lifetime, and Black women are the fastest growing prison population
The life expectancy of a Black trans woman is 35 years. The average income of a Black trans person is less than $10,000.”
– State of the Black Union, by BlackLivesMatter¹
When we as young white people with wealth, within the multi-racial and multi-class RG community, act in solidarity against state violence, we don’t mean against just police departments. We mean working towards ending racism in schools, food systems, queer communities, climate change, the economy, housing, employment. Everywhere.
Fighting Racism in Queer and Trans Communities (by bex kolins)
As a white trans person with a whole lot of access, I’ve seen the many ways that white queer and trans communities continue to neglect the most vulnerable in our communities. This is why I am especially excited and hopeful that there is larger support now for Black led queer and trans organizing, particularly by and for Black trans women. Because whiteness doesn’t interact separately from other forms of systematic inequality, it is especially necessary that we support Black lives who are targeted by multiple forms of oppression. I know that when I talk about working to end state violence within the queer movement (and across all other social justice movements), that I mean working to end the racism and cissexism that allows my transness to be more okay than that of others in the queer community and understanding the many reasons why that is.
Matching the energy of this movement moment requires us to think and act intersectionally and broadly in defense of all Black lives. We have been called to bold action, moved by the leadership and guidance of RG past and present board members Chad Jones, Nakisha Lewis, Monica Simpson; organizer Maurice Mitchell; and by the Black Lives Matter co-founders.
Again we ask: Are you in?
Follow this link to make a commitment to give and be involved.