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The racial justice movement sweeping across the country presents an opportunity to radically transform America to more equitably serve all of its citizens, panelists concluded during an online event Monday organized by UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute.
The event, “Rise up for Justice: Black Lives and our Collective Future,” featured nearly a dozen prominent community organizers, faith leaders and social change advocates from cities across the country who shared stories about the social justice work happening on the ground and their visions for the future.
“We are faced with two pandemics: the pandemic of Covid-19 and the pandemic of institutionalized racism. I don’t know which is worse, but together they are really deadly,” said Berkeley Law professor john a. powell, director of the institute. “But when we face them together, I think we can handle both.”
powell drew parallels to the uprising he experienced in Detroit in 1967, where the national guard was deployed to suppress several days of unrest, and also to the scenes he witnessed during the 1980s in apartheid South Africa. But the current moment, he said, feels promising.
“I remember thinking then, ‘This … ain’t never going to change.’ And a few years later, I was having dinner at Nelson Mandela’s house. I learned that we can’t know what’s going to happen. I didn’t see the change coming. I’m a little bit more humble now,” he said.
The most recent movement, sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, quickly spread to towns and cities in every state — and around the world. Monday’s speakers explained how the movement has galvanized their communities to keep pushing for change.
Glenn Harris, the president of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, a nonprofit racial justice organization with roots in Oakland, said the moment allows for creating cross-racial and cross-movement solidarity by showing how issues of police violence and access to health care, housing, education and employment are all tied together.
“What we’re facing is a structural fight that’s not just, in this moment, about the realities of ending police violence solely, but that actually creates a possibility to imagine a fundamentally just and democratic society centered on the realities of who we are as a multi-racial community,” Harris said.
Moderator Emira Woods of Africans Rising — a Pan-African movement of people and organizations working for peace, justice and dignity — read a number of items from a long list of victories that activists have achieved since the protests erupted last month.
They included the arrest and prosecution of the four police officers involved in Floyd’s murder, the end to the “no knock” policy by police in Louisville, where Breonna Taylor was shot dead by officers in March, efforts in Congress to stop the transfer of military weapons to local police forces and the removal of Confederate statues in some states.
An organizer with the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, who went only by the name “Daisy,” encouraged viewers to follow the example of civil rights-era activists who organized a series of boycotts of businesses that discriminated against African Americans; the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott is an example.
“If a business is not for the liberation of marginalized communities, we should not help run their engine,” she said.
Emira Woods: ... that we're all witnessing and experiencing. A black led movement demanding police accountability and justice has galvanized anger, grief, and frustration over the repeated killings of black men and women, both historically and in the present day, but also hope in a future rooted in true belonging.
Emira Woods: People around the world are boldly organizing. This pivotal uprising will shape not only our communities and our countries, but also our bodies, our minds, and our collective future. When we all heard those powerful, painful words, "I can't breathe!" it echoed through our bones, and it echoes out through the ages.
Emira Woods: From Jim Crow to the new Jim Crow, the transatlantic slave trade, to slavery, colonialism, apartheid, the privatization of our schools, of our health systems, the National Rifle Association peddling guns in our communities and our countries around the world, violence raging against women's bodies, the World Bank, IMF, fossil fuel companies, Wall Street, capitalist greed, we can't breathe.
Emira Woods: Then on top of that, COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, disproportionately impacting our families, our communities, our bodies, and it doesn't stop there. We know, we know that the health system that has now reached such a crisis point is leaving our communities that were already on the brink facing even more dire days.
Emira Woods: So across the world, we say we can't breathe. And we come together to share, to feel, to put out a call to action. So family, this event is live-streamed. We just thank you all for making time to participate. We will feature organizers at the front lines, Minneapolis, LA, Chicago, New York, and other cities. We are so honored to also have anchors. They're my co-anchors. I think of them as walking through, gathering with us. Professor John A. Powell from the Othering and Belonging Institute at Berkeley, the phenomenal Linda Sarsour from Until Freedom, Reverend Michael McBride from LIVE FREE USA and Faith in Action.
Emira Woods: We're with you to lead a conversation that will be on Twitter, on YouTube. So we encourage you to use the hashtag #RiseUp4Justice. Rise up, the number four. #RiseUp4Justice, but also keep in mind that this event is being not only live streamed but also translated into Spanish. So we encourage you to reach out on Facebook, on YouTube, on the website riseup4justice and let us know how you can most fully be a part of this conversation.
Emira Woods: So without any further ado to kick us off, please, please join me in welcoming the phenomenal Marvin K. White. Marvin is a poet, a writer, a preacher. He brings art to heal an aching world and we need him now more than ever. Marvin, the floor is yours. Welcome.
Marvin K. White: A black person is not a snapped tree limb. A black person is not a flash flood. A black person is not a run over skunk. A black person is not spearmint gum. A black person is not a briquette. A black person is not a double yellow line. A black person is not a dropped grocery bag. A black person is not velvet roped art. A black person is not a cast shadow. A black person is not a puddle. A black person is not a Newport. A black person is not a broken bottle. A black person is not an unlucky cat. A black person is not a bus stop. A black person is not an ant colony.
Marvin K. White: A black person is not a motor oil spill. A black person is not a crosswalk. A black person is not a candy gold Camaro's donuts. A black person is not hopscotch. A black person is not a can of Coors. A black person is not sunflower seeds. A black person is not a telephone pole. A black person is not a fire hydrant. A black person is not a manhole. A black person is not the first to die in this horror movie. A black person is not a knee pad.
Marvin K. White: So pray. Pray as if you are the bullet. Pray as if you are tomorrow waiting on him. Pray as if you are that black girl's mama. Then pray as if you are that whiteness, and then pray as if you are the witness. Pray as if you are the curtain through which their killing is being witnessed. Pray as if you are the ground that they fall on. Pray as if you are the blood that is trying to get away. Then pray as if you are daylight savings time. Pray as if you got to break the news to his lover. And then pray as if you got to watch the news break.
Marvin K. White: Pray as if you are the Scripture that speaks healing, and pray as if you can hear black trans boys crying, even when they are not. Then pray that you don't even know if God knows what to say to this. Pray as if you think people praying right up there with looting people. And then pray as if you're listening for justice. And pray as if you can't hear none.
Marvin K. White: Pray as if you are black and thinking locked up is safer than jaywalking. Then pray that no lies about black people get past you. Pray as if you are a funeral service. Pray as if you are the money for a spray. Pray as if you meet a florist that hates funerals. Pray as if you know quiet hours can't keep us quiet much longer. Then pray that the police don't say that they thought your clasped hands was a gun.
Emira Woods: Powerful. Thank you so much Marvin for situating us in this moment and the need for prayer and healing and action. We know that there are many of you who have experience in your own lives and in your own families. Please feel free to use the hashtag #RiseUp4Justice to share some of your stories as you're hearing and participating with us today.
Emira Woods: We are joined by three phenomenal leaders who will be our anchors. They will help us to process the healing, to think through what we're seeing and witnessing, and to demand our call to action. So Linda, Michael, John, welcome.
Emira Woods: It's such an honor to have you here. I want to begin just by sharing some of the grief and some of the need for self care. We'll be asking each of you to contribute from your lens and asking all joining us on the various other platforms to share as well.
Emira Woods: We remind you that the world needs everything that you have to offer right now. However, you cannot pour from an empty cup. We need to be clear and firm. What resonates and what drains? So with that, we start. Michael, how are you, and how is your family?
Michael McBride: Well, it is indeed a blessing to be with everyone. And I share in both this refrain that we've been saying in our congregation, that joy and grief are inhabiting the same spaces. That we indeed are experiencing grief from the loss of loved ones that have overwhelmed us since the beginning of COVID. We're also experiencing grief at the reality of black death that continues to be the reality, the daily reality for the last several hundred years. That continues to torment many of us, but at the same time, joy persists.
Michael McBride: Because it is a joy fueled by the hope and the strength of our ancestors that shows up in unexpected places. And that joy is literally, in my tradition, this is the season of Pentecost where many voices are being raised as a symphony to proclaim the good news in a voice that others can understand it.
Michael McBride: The joy, being able to see all across this country and dare the world, that our lives are not invisible in this particular moment. The joy that sits right along with the grief that perhaps we may be experiencing an awakening. And so I'm one of these folks who have experienced the trauma of police violence. And to know that my trauma is in a cathartic way being echoed and amplified by the millions of voices across the country. It is that that brings me joy as I sit along the grief knowing that lives are still being lost and impacted by this wicked virus epidemic feeling that is too familiar in this country.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much, Michael, for sharing that vulnerability, for sharing your own personal experience. Friends, if you could, just because this is being translated into Spanish, our brothers and sisters, from the LatinX community, please speak a bit more slowly. I will try to do the same so that we're sure that our family, all of our family, can hear all the power of your reflections.
Emira Woods: John, we turn to you next. How are you holding up? How are you doing?
john a. powell: Thank you, Emira. So I'm reminded of a custom I just read. It contained multiple stories, multiple voices, multiple situations all at once. So we both experienced profound grief, loss, anger, frustration, exhaustion. At the same time that we had persistence, perseverance. And I think you have to hold onto both of those. One of them I think is rooted more in our past. If want it rooted more in our future we have to have both of them. For me, I have wonderful friends, I count Pastor Mike and Linda as part of my friendship. I have a beautiful family. And I was in the 1967 riots, uprising, rebellion, demonstrations. For all those things in Detroit.
john a. powell: I was there. I watched the military come in. I've watched relatives be wrongly imprisoned and be wrongly killed. I've been overwhelmed with anger. I was living in Africa, working on anti-apartheid and the front line states, Steve Biko of the Black Consciousness Movement was killed in prison. I remember thinking then, excuse my French, "This shit ain't never gon' change". A few years later I was having dinner in Nelson Mandela's house and he taught me something that we actually don't know what's going to happen. When I was there working every day with people. And I didn't see the chains coming. So I've learned to be a little bit more humble about being able to predict the future. But what I haven't given up, where possible is how important it is to be a good person. And to be engaged in oneself and to be engaged with others. Dr King said the moral arc bends toward justice, but it doesn't bend enough to be in depth. We don't know if we're going to win. If we try to bend [inaudible 00:15:00] we know we already lost if we don't engage.
john a. powell: So I feel many different ways. Right now I must say I'm exhausted. I wake up in the morning tired. I go to bed at night tired. And yeah, when Pastor Mike calls, I answer the phone. So I also feel exhilarated with the possibility, exhilarated with the people on this live stream, exhilarated with 480 plus cities across the world that was demonstrating this week, with social justice and racial justice, exhilarated that people can now say anti-black racism without flinching. So we're not there by a long shot, but we are in a different place now that we're having this conversation. I've gone through a number of demonstrations, riots, uprisings, whatever you want to call them. This feels different. It feels different because we've brought in more people, because the leadership in the black community is leading a group of people who are going to just fly.
Emira Woods: So John, we're going to leave you there because there's so much that you have to offer. And we want to make sure that we have time and space for this full conversation. So we're going to be coming back to you. You're one of our anchors and we're so grateful for that. Maybe we'll leave you at that thought now. So we have time for Linda to share with us. Linda, you're at the forefront of so many struggles, we know it's around all the issues of race and religion and women, these multiple identities and multiple ways that our bodies are assaulted and our minds are assaulted. And yet you stand so beautifully and powerfully. So we want to check in with you, what are you experiencing there in New York? And at the epicenter of the COVID and now at the forefront of this uprising.
Linda Sarsour: I just want to say that I am so deeply honored and humbled to be amongst all of you. Emira, I'm feeling ashamed. And I've been feeling ashamed for a really long time. I've been feeling ashamed for the last 20 years of doing this work as a non black person of color. I'm watching how our systems continue to commit acts of violence against our black neighbors. The systems, every system, our education systems, our systems of housing, our criminal justice system. And so while thinking about my role here as a non black person of color is to also acknowledge that we too, in our communities have anti-black racism and that we can not put this conversation only on white people and white allies, that we all have a role to play here in eradicating anti-black racism. And I have the first responsibility to do that in my own Arab American community and amongst non-black Muslims.
Linda Sarsour: So I'm feeling ashamed, but I'm also feeling hopeful Emira. I've been on the streets for 20 years, and this is different. These are young people of color led by black young people of color who are saying "Enough is enough and this time we mean it and we will get justice for our communities by any means necessary,". And I'm behind them. You can call them what you want, you can analyze what they're doing, you can say they're wrong, but I'm with them a hundred percent. And I'm trying to find my role here in this movement to put my body on the line because the burden cannot be just on black people to continue over and over again, to sacrifice their lives and for all of us.
Linda Sarsour: And I'll end by saying that I come to this work with this quote in mind, by an Aboriginal woman named Lila Watson. And she says, "If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come here because you believe that your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together,". And I believe truly and wholeheartedly that all of us, non black people in America, our liberation is bound up with the liberation of black people. So when black people are free, all of us will be free.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much for that Linda. None of us are free until all of us are free. We ask those who are joining on all the different platforms, share with us. What are you feeling now? How are you coping, what does self care look like from your lens? Share your experiences. Let's help each other build communities of love, of resilience, of care.
Emira Woods: Please share, share with us again, it is #RiseUp4Justice. And also you can go onto the website, YouTube and Twitter. The next section, we will hear directly from those young people at the front lines. You know, many of us have watched here in DC where I am, a 17 year old young sister from the Congo who rose up and started [inaudible 00:20:03] DC. It is a 17-year old who stood bravely to take that video of George Floyd. Daniella Frazier is now being attacked because of her courageous act of love at that difficult, painful moment. These 17 year olds, you know, Australia organized by someone from the indigenous community, organizing the Black Lives Matter protest in Australia, calling out globally the theme of racism, the pain of economic exploitation, the pain of land being stolen from our people.
Emira Woods: These young people are at the forefront and we're going to go hear directly from them. We're going to start with Daisy Kabaka from the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee. And D'Angelo Bester from the Worker Center for Racial Justice will join us. And then we'll come back to our phenomenal anchors to also weigh in on what we are witnessed at this moment. Daisy, D'Angelo, it is so wonderful having you and being able to hear your story directly from you. Maybe we start with you, Daisy. Tell us what's happening on the ground in Minnesota. How is it in Minneapolis? How do you see it? And what are you doing about it? What's to come.
Daisy Kabaka: There's a lot going on here in Minnesota. The one thing that I really appreciate is that the community is coming together and that's something that the media isn't necessarily publicizing all the time. I've gone volunteering in Minneapolis probably three times since this happened on May 25th and just the community. I'm so grateful that we're not focusing on the negative and we're coming together to help one another rebuild what some people have lost unfortunately, as a result of the violence and the rioting.
Daisy Kabaka: And another thing that's going on is that demands are being met. And so for example, the university that I graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the current student body president, who was a Kenyan black woman, she sent a letter out to the leadership of the university and I'm going to read part of her letter, she said, "Therefore, we clearly and without hesitation demand that the University of Minnesota Police Department ceases any partnership with the Minneapolis Police Department immediately. This is inclusive of any previous contracts, events, security operations, and any additional relations that were inclusive of the Minneapolis Police Department barring any recording structures,".
Daisy Kabaka: And at the end, she says, "We a reply to this concern within 24 hours of receipt,". And the university responded within 24 hours. And that wouldn't have happened if a person of color was not in a position of power to do what she did. And from my personal experience of going to the University of Minnesota, I worked with a college preparatory program known as Upward Bound, and there was an incident. So what Upward Bound is, is high school students come to the university and they receive college prep courses and other classes. And during the summer, we have a summer program where the students live in the dorms. And there was an incident one time when a student accidentally kicked the ball outside of the confines of the dorm. So they went to go retrieve the ball and the supervisor that was there with the approximately 10 students. She and the other students watching this one student go over to the ball and...
Daisy: Other students watch as this one student go retrieve the ball. As that student was doing so, there was a police officer that drove their vehicle and immediately got the attention of the student and their intercom they said, "Stop what you're doing." Or "Stop, stop right there." And that encounter scarred the student. And so I appreciate that people are demanding things and they're not willing to settle because I feel as though when you look at the civil rights movement, we're promised the whole entire cookie, and then we end up with crumbs. And so I want people to stand strong and to not give it to the demands.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much Daisy. Stand strong, do not give in, to know that these demands are actually bringing change, bringing actions, bringing movement forward. Thank you so much. DeAngelo please share with us. You are at the lens of labor rights, organizing LGBT rights, and there's so much that you're at the forefront of. Please share with us from your lens. It's happening. How are you experiencing it?
DeAngelo Bester: Yeah. So what's happening here on the ground in Chicago, let me just first say that 99.9% of the protests that I've witnessed and our members have been a part of and a witness have been peaceful. The violence that we've seen here in Chicago has been on the part of our mayor, the police, and the national guard that they brought in. So first and foremost, on last Saturday evening, what happened was at 8:30 in the evening, the mayor of Chicago declared a curfew. That was to be set in place at nine o'clock. So she gave people half an hour to get back inside. She then proceeded to shut off the entire downtown section of Chicago, closed off all public transportation, bus, train routes, lifted up the bridges, and essentially trapped people in a certain area, in a confined area, which then began to arrest people for violating curfew.
DeAngelo Bester: That happened last Saturday night, and it's continued to happen throughout Chicago. The other big thing has been happening here is that they brought in a national guard, like I said, and the national guard and the Chicago police department have been working hard, working diligently to protect businesses, but they've been protecting businesses in the downtown area in what we call the magnificent mile. And that people have not been allowed to even go in those areas while businesses outside, in West side Chicago owned by black and other people of color have been allowed to get damaged and vandalized. I've literally heard police officers say, "Let them loot." When it came to the businesses and stuff on the South and West side of Chicago. So that's really what's been happening here, peaceful protests on the part of our members and other organizations and just people in general here in Chicago, in the Chicago area, but violence being committed against us by the state.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much DeAngelo. The violence that we see in city after city from Buffalo, New York to right here in Washington, D.C. in front of the White House. The police has just kind of stepped above and beyond any decency or disrespect for human life. Wanted to go to Oakland and Kat was to join us. Unfortunately, there's been yet another brutality at the hands of the police yet continuing in our very streets. So we have our colleagues in Oakland that are responding and Kat is not able to join us, allowing us to take this time to read to you this incredible list of what protests have accomplished. This list was put together by Malachi Larrabee-Garza. I am hoping that many of you have seen it already. It's quite extensive, but let's just share some of it. On 5/26, four officers fired from murdering George Floyd. 5/28 University of Minnesota cancels contract contracts with police. 5/28, third precinct police station neutralized by protestors, same day, the ATU local 1005 refuses to bring police office to protest, but transport protestors.
Emira Woods: 5/29 [inaudible 00:28:55] hotel provides shelter for those who were houseless. 5/29 officer Chauvin who killed Floyd was arrested, same day the Louisville mayor suspends no knock warrants in response to policies set by 3-12. 5/30 U.S. Embassies across Africa rose up, also had African governments rising up, putting out statements. And today the African Union put out statements. The list is so long. Attorney general Keith Ellison takes over prosecution on the murdering officer who we saw in court today for the first time. Also on 5/30 TWU local 100 bus operators refused to transport arrested protestors. 5/31 abusive officers fired after pulling a couple out of their car and tazing them. It says a couple, but we know they were kids, students, in Atlanta at Morehouse and Spelman, brutally mistreated, disrespected.
Emira Woods: 6/1 Minnesota public schools ended their contract with the police. We also saw the Confederate monument removed in Birmingham, Alabama, what a glorious sight. Prosecutors launched a program to stop the DA's from accepting police union money. Tulsa mayor agrees to not read ... (silence).
Emira Woods: Democrats and Republicans began to push to shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry and cancels contracts with police. Minnesota on June 2nd, the eighth AFL-CIO Minnesota for the resignation of Bob Kroll, the president of the Minnesota Police Union. He is a well known white supremacist, but I'm told is that only white supremacy is a psychosis. So he's a well known ... let's be clear. On 6/3 officers fired for tweets and promoting violence in Denver, Colorado.
Emira Woods: Minnesota Institute of Art, First Avenue. Officer Chauvin charged on 6/3, the list goes on and on and on. He was removed ... People demanding the defunding for the police, insisting losing that train from the South Africa anti-apartheid movement divest from brutality in our communities, divest, invest across this country, you are seeing powerful assaults of the protests. I just want to go back DeAngelo, tell us as you're moving forward, what are you holding on to? What are you demanding happen? Not a year from now? Or a decade from now, but in a ...
Emira Woods: Are we seeing these images? Powerful reminders across the country. The uprising is happening. I hope we're coming back to Daisy and DeAngelo. So John lets start with you, after what we've heard, let me hear your reflections.
john a. powell: And we see like Emira she said that the movement is spreading around the world. It's spreading to different institutions. What's the one thing that's different is that in the past, when a police would kill a black man or a black woman or a latino woman or a Muslim, it would be a blue wall. Not just from the police, but from the mayor's office, from businesses, from ordinary citizens, from most white people. What we see now is crack in that wall, we see people come from all walks of life, making statements acknowledging that black lives matter. So I think there's something here ... hold onto it. It's also important to emphasize this like you did Emira. In a world faced with pandemics, the pandemics of COVID-19 and pandemic of institutional racism. I don't know which is worse, but both of them are really deadly, but when we face them together. I think we can handle both.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much for that, John. Linda let's turn to you, what are your reflections based on all that you've heard.
Linda Sarsour: I'm just feeling proud. When I see these young black and brown folks on the front line, they're not just there because they're just, they're just like aimlessly outraged. They are outraged with an agenda. They are outraged with demands. They know what they want and they're ready to do everything it takes to get what they want. And that is what we are seeing. They are winning Emira. They are winning, I'm just feeling fired up and inspired.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much, Linda. I share that. Michael, please. What are your thoughts reflections on all that you've heard?
Michael McBride: Well, I just want us to continue to push this moment as far as we possibly can. I want us to be mindful that we know that these moments have a shelf life. And for many of us, the tendency is to reach for the lowest hanging fruit. But I think these young people have shown us that the sky really is the limit. And so my hope and my prayer based off of what I've already heard is that elected officials, faith leaders, some of those who may have their eyes a little bit lower than the stars, if you will, that we won't throw a wet blanket on the enthusiasm and the dreams and the imagination of these young people, but that we will ride this wave out with them and be sentinels and watch men and watch women and counselors and cheerleaders and jump in the fight when they ask us.
Michael McBride: We will be close to them so they don't feel vulnerable or exposed, but we will not allow their imagination to be diminished or tamped down because of some of our own perhaps fear and or lack of imagination. So my hope is that we push and push and push this moment as far as we possibly can go.
Emira Woods: We push, we push. And we know that when we push, we bend the arc of the moral universe, bends towards justice. We just need to keep pushing to help make it happen. We asked friends and family, if you could please just mute your phone or your device, when you're not speaking, it will improve the quality of this conversation. And we also remind everyone joining on other platforms. Please send us your comments. You can tweet at #RiseUp4Justice. And please engage in this conversation. Tell us what you're experiencing. Tell us how you're managing it. Tell us how you are helping to push that arc towards justice.
Emira Woods: We're going to shift to another segment of our conversation. We are so honored to be talking about solidarity across movements, solidarity across races. And so we are, we are joined by Glenn Harris by Nick Tilson, by Greg Kelley. And we're going to give them time to share with us what solidarity looks like from their lens. So thank you so much for joining and thank you for your work and your vision and your boldness. We just ask you, the time is against us, but we want to hear directly. We'll start with you, Greg, please. As FCIU's local taking action to protect black lives. Greg, if you can please just unmute your device. We're seeing you. We want to hear those words of wisdom please.
Greg Kelley: Okay. So I apologize. I want to say first it's an honor to be here to be with such amazing leaders and activists. My union FCIU Healthcare based here in Chicago, but we are representing workers in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, all in health care, home care, nursing homes, et cetera. The majority of our members are people of color, they're women. And so this crisis that we're talking about, they have been living in-
Emira Woods: Michael can you turn the title to Glenn Harris and Nick?
Greg Kelley: For quite a while. Can you hear me? Okay. They have been living through this crisis for quite a while. COVID-19 particularly for nursing our nursing home workers but for all of our members truly represented a turning point in the ways in which we have interacted with the broader community. The broader community has finally understood that those workers have been unprotected and under appreciated for us for a long time.
Greg Kelley: And so, as we began to engage our members, we began to engage other folks in the community who stood up with us to make sure that those workers more protected, the murder of brother George Floyd has done nothing but make our members even more activated, more engaged. They see the connections between the ways they get treated by their employers and the way their brother Floyd, Breonna Taylor. So many of our people have been murdered or disregarded and have really stepped up and want to really see a change in our areas. And so we understand that labor movement has a unique place to play. We can bring folks together in a way that can change things. And so in this moment, we're continuing to build a partners, engage our members, to make sure that our voices are heard loudly and clearly.
Emira Woods: Greg, you are also with healthcare, Illinois. And we know that so many in our community have been disproportionately affected by this COVID crisis like here in D.C. The percentage is 75% of those who have COVID are from black and brown communities and we know the statistics are as high in Illinois. Can you share with us just your thoughts on this moment, that's bringing together. These it's almost like a tsunami of crises for our community.
Greg Kelley: It in fact has been a tsunami. We represent workers in St. Louis for a period of time, the only people who died from COVID-19 were black. Here in Chicago, 60, 70% initially were black, but now transitioning black and latino. And so COVID-19 our members are on the front lines every day, they see death. They've been dealing with death since the pandemic sort of took off. And I have to tell you, from originally being scared and a bit anxious, they're now very angry and they understand the ways in which they are treated as workers is directly connected to what's happened to Breonna Taylor. What happened to the Laquan McDonald here in Chicago and obviously brother George Floyd. So they're testing trying to figure out, who can we align with to make sure that black life does in fact matter. And they're excited and we have a lot of support in the community, and we want to continue to build that.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much for the powerful work that you do. We'll next move to Nick, Nick Tilson is with NDN, also that the indigenous community, the first nations people have been also disproportionately impacted by COVID and also by police violence. So can you share with us both what is happening in your community and also how the solidarity is playing itself out where you are? So Nick, if you could just unmute as well, please. Thank you.
Emira Woods: The ancestors are wanting us to listen well and listen carefully as you speak. So they want us to be primed and ready, but please unmute so we can hear you well. Okay. Well, while we wait for you to unmute, let me share with you some of the comments that are coming in on the other platforms. We have a question from Megan Wildhood, UC Berkeley, from the American Indian graduate program that says, "Please do not forget the colonial history forced upon indigenous people."
Emira Woods: If you could comment on that as you speak Nick, we also have people asking what's the most helpful, impactful thing white people can do at this time. How do we work in an environment that requires us to check our blackness at the door, too often be vocal about injustice equates to using the race card. As you think about your remarks, if you could comment on some questions and comments raised on the other platforms and if we could ask you to also speak slowly for our translators. Thank you.
Emira Woods: Okay, well while we're still sorting out the mic. So let's go to Glenn, welcome Glenn. You are with us on from Race Forward. So please share with us your work, share with us your vision, and also what this movement and uprising looks like from where you are.
Glenn Harris: Thank you so much Emira. I hope you all can hear me. And I have to say, it's such a privilege to be on this webinar with Nick and Greg. And Nick we are so all anxiously waiting to hear your voice. Wanting to name a couple of things, I guess is thinking about solidarity across movements and across racial solidarity. One is just, reflecting on what the anchors had shared that started this moment. It feels like we have firmly landed in the third reconstruction, from the wake of the civil war to the civil rights movement to this moment. We're in a moment where history may actually turn a corner, where the years of work of all of our communities have done towards racial justice appear to be accelerating towards that moment where the arc of history may actually start to band.
Glenn Harris: And what the inescapable about this moment is that there are two things happening at once. Two things that we don't always hold together. The first in this moment is spoken dangerously, is about centering any blackness. And from the chance of black lives matter from Ghana to Japan, from rural Texas to Minneapolis, tell us that black lives change the world when you center our worth and our value. And at the same time, what makes this moment historic and transformative is the multiracial and cross movement building. In fact, global solidarity that we see in this moment and what's possible, but that also offers the promise of birthing a broader chain, you can begin to build together policies that we can begin to build together and start to imagine right now. One of the things I just wanted to make sure.
Glenn Harris: It's hard to imagine right now. One of the things I just wanted to name is what we're seeing in this moment is transcending words like "ally." It's one of the things that I'm so deeply appreciative about watching young folks in the street. Allyship still implies that somehow, and this is getting into some of the questions that were coming up as well in the feeds ... that somehow I'm supporting you in your struggle as opposed to seeing myself directly in the struggle, which is really solidarity, with that word together being an operative term, as we look to our path to justice.
Glenn Harris: The other thing I just wanted to name is that I think in this moment, as we think about divest/invest, as we think about defund the police, it's a powerful opportunity. And we're seeing this in our work, in communities, and also in working with institutions like government, that allows us to think about cross movement solidarity in deeper ways. Dismantling the police to create new visions of public health and safety also serves us in thinking about education, healthcare, housing, jobs.
Glenn Harris: So coming together in defense of Black lives also validates, as we know, Latinx community, Asian community, and other communities, especially our Native brothers and sisters, thinking about Nick. It allows white people as with which folks who are asking, to liberate themselves from the systems of white supremacy, that dehumanize all of us, including white folks. It's about state violence, but it's also about structural violence in the ways that folks have named. The ways that we've seen disproportionate COVID deaths and uneven economic suffering that we're feeling in the wake of COVID.
Glenn Harris: So in that way, the power of this moment is really getting real about how we hold both going deep and broad, as we think about cross-movement building, as we think about cross-racial movement building. I think as we think about going deep and broad, the last thing I'll just say is that we can't ever ask ourselves to sacrifice one for the other, or we risk fundamentally losing it all. So in this moment, I think what's really important is that we hold tight that we must have it all, that we do demand it all, that what we're facing is a structural fight, that it is not just in this moment about the realities of ending police violence solely, but that it actually creates a possibility for us to imagine a fundamentally different just and democratic society that's centered in the realities of who we are as a multiracial community.
Emira Woods: It's so powerful. Thank you very much for those contributions. I don't know if I'm able to get Nick, but we're so grateful to have had you all on for the work that you're doing, for the lens that you have on this. We know as a family, the work is just beginning. So we will stand with you and look forward to finding many more platforms to stay connected and engaged.
Emira Woods: We ask for those who are joining us on Twitter, please continue to send your questions in the comments. We're going to still try to see if Nick can join us to give that lens, but we'll also ... in the interest of time, we'll go back to our anchors and have them also comment on all that they've heard in terms of this sort of cross-movement solidarity. So thank you so much dear friends and family. Thank you so much dear brothers. Stay strong, stay well, keep up the great work.
Emira Woods: Anchors, good to have you all back with us. There's so much that came out of that conversation and we're hoping to get more. Maybe we can start with you, Linda, in commenting for us when we think of solidarity with Black communities, with oppressed communities, with communities that are fighting back, envisioning a more just world, we naturally think of Palestine. So could you share with us. We saw the protests in Palestine. Maybe we start with you to reflect on what that meant for you, for this movement, as we walk together to build a more just world.
Linda Sarsour: ... Syrian refugees and refugee camps, Palestinians, people in Africa, in Germany, in Australia, and all over the world and that is important. And global solidarity is important, but our solidarity here also within the United States is important. The question I heard in Europe from the white ally that was asking, what can we do better? And this is also for non-Black people of color.
Linda Sarsour: It's not just about standing in solidarity or saying the right things, it's about what are we willing to sacrifice? And I'm saying to non-black people of color and also to white allies, you need to be prepared to sacrifice relationships. You need to be able to have the courageous conversations with your mother, your grandfather, your uncle, your father, whoever you need to, and get people to move into a place that says, "I need to live around people, I need to love people who love people."
Linda Sarsour: And that is the kind of hard work that we need to do as white allies, as non-Black people of color. And so what I'm hearing about solidarity, solidarity is a verb. Solidarity is action. Solidarity is not just words. And I'm hoping that we get to a place where our movement, our intersectional movements, do more working and do more anti-racism work and actually start getting into the tangibles of what does it look like for us to also sacrifice alongside Black people?
Emira Woods: Thank you so much, Linda. We have so many questions coming in. If I can just share from Christina Berlin, "How do we best direct people who are asking? What can I do next to support the movement?" From Ruben Elias Oneido Sanchez, "What lessons do we apply and amplify just transition of police officers and law enforcement into healthy, generative careers. Curious if you all have insights on this just transition from small rural communities where all of the people of the LGBTQA, disabled, immigrant communities join those careers because they have limited options of jobs, but also because they have the option to be able to do good in their communities. What advice do you have on those? Also, question of describe how colonialism has led people to have lack of knowledge of issues of race and justice." How do we have the general liberal of education that liberates our minds? I think that's kind of the question that's in there. So maybe we go to you Michael, to reflect on the questions and also you're hearing talk across movement solidarity. And also where you see us as kind of moral universe?
Michael McBride: Well, I've always been deeply convinced by the work of Dr. Powell and others as they've mentored us over the years around the need for universal goals, but also the appreciation that we have targeted strategies if we're going to reach those goals. Appreciate that people are situated very widely across the spectrum of experience by identity, et cetera. And so our task as organizers then is to make plain, but also contextual, the pathway to liberation. If we have people who find their most meaning made in religious spaces, then we must have a profound formation process within religious spaces to help interpret and inform people well. If we find places particularly around people's current occupation or the way in which they provide for their families, what does it mean for us in this moment to have the imagination and the language to be able to reimagine these systems that have people mostly locked in the grasp and the clash of service to these systems, because it requires them to make a living.
Michael McBride: And so one of the things that we like to talk about is what does it look like to have the imagination, post-policing, that redefines the roles that people play. Rather than a warrior, what if the police imagine themselves as guardians, but realize that we don't need as many folks to serve in that role? What if we didn't move people to peacemaker roles that don't require weapons in order to make peace, but skillsets related to conflict resolution, a deeper relation, and then people who are healers, people who have the disposition and the ability to learn the techniques of therapy and counseling and move them into these kinds of spaces that are public service-facing roles. So rather than imagining that we have to move people out of certain kinds of sectors, let's redefine those sectors.
Michael McBride: Rather than police, let's have guardians, let's have peacemakers, let's have healers, let's train people to move into their deepest calling and their deepest gifting, to be of service to our communities and our people, rather than be a chaplain or an extension of an empire that wants and needs the blood of the poor and the dispossessed in order to fuel its imperialism, both domestically and abroad. This kind of vision is within our grasp, but it takes a radical holy imagination to make it possible.
Emira Woods: Radical imagination that we totally hold up and applaud. John, I return to you, Othering and Belonging, you've written the book quite literally on this, so share with us your thoughts both related to the questions, to reflections of all you've heard already of cross-solidarity, movement building, and this furious work that's being done. Now we turn to you, John, to give your thoughts and reflections, please.
John M. Powell: We heard insight from both Linda and Michael, and then Linda introduced the word "love." We have to actually have tolerant agency. We also have to have radical love. Cornell West makes the observation, justice is what love looks like in public, we shouldn't be afraid of that word. And we talk about creating a circle of human concern, but no one's outside the circle. And so we do have to have a radical imagination. We do have to learn how to dream, but in addition to a radical imagination, we also have to have radical restructuring. So where does the money go? Right now too much money often times go to the police and too little money go to people. The police show up in many applicants with armored vehicles, with all kinds of equipment, and yet our essential workers in hospitals have a hard time getting a mask, what's that about? So we have to look at how are we spending money, it says reflects priorities. I was part of that movement for South Africa.
John M. Powell: When it started, people kept saying, you can't divest banks, plus you don't have any money. They turned back and they were saying take your nickels and dimes, they don't care. But we took our nickel and dimes, we went to the university, we went to some... I won't call it allies, but we actually get people to that desk. All of a sudden the movement took off. So think of structures. It's important to care about each other. It's important to love each other, but it's also make sure important the structures reflect our values. Our best values. So we say for belonging is where people co-create the future together, you need agency, you need power, you need love and responsibility. And with this it's possible. And finally I'll just say, we're not talking about domination. Their number 45 is talking about domination. He says, "Dominate the people in the street." He said, "The United States is a dominant power."
John M. Powell: We're not interested in dominating or being dominated. We want a world where we act together and we recognize our spiritual connection to each other and to the earth. As our Native brothers and sisters teach us. So that's the world we find together and that we can. And within that grasp, we have to hold on to that. And I'll just end by saying this, Emira, I know you were part of cultural work. The arts and culture are important. We have predominately food for our body but not food for our soul. So I remember, when we talk about keep on pushing, that was Curtis Mayfield. "Keep on pushing... can't stop now. " Melvin and the Blue Notes, "Wake up, wake up, wake up," or Marvin Gaye, "what's going on?" So we have our cultural workers. And so I appreciate, Emira, the work that you have all of us to bring different things to this movement.
Emira Woods: The expressions of love. Co-creating the future that we need, the future that generations from now demand, there's so much there. I just want to hold up, John, as you say, that divest/invest is a lesson from the anti-apartheid struggle. I, too, was part of that struggle as a young student way back the day, right? But it also has ignited a fire for those that are fighting, the big oil companies that are pushing divestment from fossil fuels and investing in a green future that means good jobs, that doesn't destroy our community. So you see these linkages across movements that are so powerful that are seeped in historic experience. A historic experience that brought some measure of victory whilst we'd still... even in South Africa, I'm still recognizing that there's a long way to go, to get true victory, to get true liberation for our people.
Emira Woods: So the road is long. The road is hard. I wanted us to... There's so many questions coming in. I wanted us to honor some of those questions, see if we can respond to them. We have a lot of questions around public education, people under. As we defund the police we're saying, we want to build up the education system for our kids, the wholesome public education system for our communities. We want to build housing. And so a lot of questions about that. How do you get transformative healing in our communities? There are questions asked about translating all of this energy to transform laws, to also bring about different sets of policies and that it's through voting through laws, through policies, that we will actually enact that co-created future. There are questions about people feeling down and deppressed and needing to do that healing. And so any advice that you all want to give on any of that before we move to our last segment which will be our call to action.
John M. Powell: I'll add a couple of things. One is [inaudible 01:04:41] more recent in Brooklyn, people are seriously, a young man got killed yesterday by the police and this mother who has been in the hospital, 40 shots, so this is really life and death. At the same time, this is life. We have to be able to dig deep into the spirit, sharing my body, by holding on to each other. So even while we struggle, remember, as Pastor Mike said, remember the joy, remember the reflection, when I think of my family, who grew up as sharecroppers, there are many hard things, but there's so many beautiful things. And we're at this beautiful moment, but we can actually turn this thing around. And so if we get tired, get some rest, get a good night's sleep, go for a walk with a friend, listen to some music, then come ready to fight. So, that would be my advice. You have to do it by yourself. Say self care. It's not just self care. We have to care for each other. So that's my advice.
Michael McBride: I will just quickly say-
Emira Woods: Thank you so much for that, John.
Michael McBride: I would just quickly say that, some of our work has to also be about pushing progressive lawmakers and elected officials to govern in ways that are worthy of the people's aspiration. Too often, particularly in spaces that are governed by so-called progressives or Democrats, they go to the bottom of the lowest denominator and leave the people feeling as if governance cannot solve their most pressing problems.
Michael McBride: And so, as we organize, I want to encourage all of us to make sure that we do not just focus on the wickedness in the mismanagement of our federal elected officials and leave our local elected officials to ride along with symbolic gestures, but fall down on their primary task to make the aspirations of the people solid and concrete through local governance. So don't just paint the streets and leave the unhoused loved ones in the streets. Don't just say you're for oversight boards and then defund them and cripple them once they come into fruition. Be a champion of the kinds of radical reimagination of our society grounded in deep love, and be willing to do the most radical thing they can do as lawmakers to make sure governance does not become an obstacle to the kind of future that we know we need to have in the short term and in the long term.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much, Pastor Mike. Linda, please, go right ahead.
Linda Sarsour: I just wanted to ask also, when we talk about solidarity, I need folks in this moment to open their hearts, open your minds a little bit, ask yourself is the thing that makes you feel safe, harmful to someone else? And when we start realizing that some of the things that we think make all of us unsafe in our community.
Linda Sarsour: And so when we hear people and particularly young Black people saying, "defund the police," understand what they mean by defund the police. What we hear people talking about abolition or a world without prisons or world without police, let's understand where people are coming from. What does that mean for them? And in fact, those same communities calling for the world without police and prisons are in fact thinking about us too, as people of color, as trans people of color.
Linda Sarsour: So the solidarity movements, the end police brutality movements, criminal justice reform movements are literally trying to talk to us in multiple ways, trying to explain when we talk about safety and security, we mean you, too. So I'm asking non-black people of color and white allies to understand that this vision of safety and security includes you, too. You just have to start listening and start opening your minds and hearts to what people are saying to you on the ground.
Emira Woods: Thank you so much, it includes all of us. It includes all of us and this call to action, now moving towards justice, this also includes all of us. So we'll start off with our anchors, we'll ask all those who are following on the various platforms, please weigh in. We want to hear thinking of both the regular person out there in the streets, some of them protesting for the very first time, to those who are long time veteran activists. So how can folks plug in, what are the aligned demands? How do we care for and ensure momentum to maintain that in this moment? What are the demands around police, accountability and divestment that can take on very concrete changes in cities around the country and, and hopefully in places around the world? How can the calls for freeing political prisoners and mass incarceration being elevated now with COVID and a crisis that's masking racial injustice and oppression. And so there's a lot. This is our call to action. What are your top three things that you would want to see people engage in?
Michael McBride: Well I will quickly say-
Emira Woods: We will start with you, Michael.
Michael McBride: I'll say that-
Emira Woods: Please, go ahead.
Michael McBride: We in our effort, we've been really coalescing around a framework that we call, Bring the Heat, that seems to really distill the, at times, complexity and perhaps out-of-touch nature of these conversations for the uninitiated or less than involved. We must appreciate, as we say, that for the last 300 years, policing has indeed emerged out of a original occupation of terror called slave patrols. And that even though there's been some reforms and upgrades, what does it mean for us to uncouple, formally, our idea of public safety from that legacy and begin to ask ourselves, how do we abolish that caliber of policing that requires bandwidth and depends on the criminalization and dehumanization of other human beings in order to achieve peace. What does it mean then to say that since we have not in the last 300 years gotten to this consensus, led us to that consensus now.
Michael: Gotten to this consensus, led us to that consensus now that you cannot be a racist and be a cop. And when we say that, we mean very explicitly--.
Enira: Thank you so much. All right, we'll have you finish that last word, and then we're going to shift back to hearing from DeAngelo and Daisy, please go ahead. If you could just finish up that last word.
Michael: Sure. When we say that, we're actually saying that associations of every police officer must be free from its association with white supremacists groups, neo-Nazi groups, alt-right groups, groups that have in their DNA the de-humanization of other peoples.
And so just being able to come to some consensus that allows us to scrub the officers' backgrounds, with this kind of lens in mind, it won't take all of the problem out, but it can at least begin to put a focus on the anti-black and othering sensibilities of some officers, and other individuals, who continue to be in our societies just unknown to us.
Michael: That could be one way to at least begin to flip that question and declare you can't racist and be a cop.
Enira: All right. We got it. We're going to leave it there and hopefully come back to you. We want to make sure that we bring back DeAngelo and Daisy, so they can also weigh in on this question about a call to action. So we will talk to our anchors, but please DeAngelo and Daisy, we're going to give you the floor, to share with us some of your thoughts on how people can plug in.
DeAngelo: So for us, I think we'll start at the local level. One is around-
Enira: Please go right ahead. We're going to start with Daisy.
Daisy: I should start?
Enira: Go ahead DeAngelo, go right ahead.
DeAngelo: Can you hear me? At the local level, what we're saying to everyone, and what we're working on here is to not only defund the police, but investing... but rebuilding institutions that endanger our communities. That's first and foremost, and that has to happen at the local level. That happens at the mayoral level and at city council. So we're telling people to go ask their city council members, where do they stand on this issue of defunding the police? Disbanding police departments and reporting them? And people that don't support that, they should be on a list of city council people to target, to get rid of. At the state level, as a former labor organizer I never thought I'd say this, but we have to break the back of the FOP.
DeAngelo: And that starts at the state level by basically excluding all police officers from being able to collectively bargain. That is the only way that we're going to be able to get rid of the FOP, which has demonstrated that they shouldn't be a part of the labor movement, and there's elements that probably shouldn't even be a part of our society.
DeAngelo: Now I'd be remiss to say that at the federal level, we've never had, and this is my opinion, a Justice Department or an FBI that's been on the side and had the back of black folks. They have perpetrated as many crimes against black people, especially our civil rights leaders, as any police department. And so obviously, in order to have a real justice department that has the backs of black folks and people of color, we have to have a new president. And so, we need to get rid of the occupant of the white house immediately.
Enira: Powerful. Thank you for that. Daisy, we turn to you please. Your call to action.
Daisy: What I would encourage people to do is hit corporations and companies where it hurts the most, and that's their pockets. And our ancestors led by example with the Montgomery bus boycott, for example, in 1955. I believe that if a business is not for the liberation of marginalized communities, we should not help run their engine by buying their products.
Daisy: And I know for some people, it may be difficult to let go of going to McDonald's, because I know myself, I love getting the fries and milkshake from McDonald's. But if that company is not for my liberation, there's no reason for me to support them. And if you're in Minnesota, there's a list of food places that you can go to instead of going to fast food restaurants.
Daisy: And point number two, for me, is that we need to strategize how we can have safer communities without entities that brutalize black and brown bodies, like the police and ICE, which stands for immigration and customs enforcement.
Daisy: And then lastly, I think that we all have to remember that solidarity is key. All of our struggles are intertwined. So if someone has fallen, then I'm falling as well.
Daisy: And then the last thing that I want to mention is that-
Enira: Thanks for that.
Daisy: Can I add one more thing? Sorry.
Enira: Go right ahead.
Daisy: Okay. I also want to add that we should hold public officials accountable. With everything that happened after the death of George Floyd, the district attorney here, Mike Freeman, he sat on his hands. He didn't do anything. He initially charged one of the police officers, Derek Chauvin, with third degree murder and manslaughter. And it wasn't until people started to protest that he wasn't in charge of the criminal charges. That was shifted over to the attorney general, Keith Ellison. So we need to hold our public officials accountable.
Daisy: The police chief here in Minneapolis was the first black police chief. He did his job when he fired all four police officers that murdered George Floyd. So hold our public officials accountable. And when it's time to vote, exercise your right to vote.
Enira: Thank you so much, Daisy. I wish we had an hour just to listen to you all. Daisy, DeAngelo, thank you for your work. Thank you for your strength and courage. And thank you for that very clear call to action. We're going to bring our speakers to give them a few minutes to share. I think it's John and Linda. We would love to hear from you on strategies as they come forward.
Enira: We also want to remind people that the website, rise up the number four, rise up for justice will have resources, will have information, and all of the calls to action will be available there, along with links to the various partner organizations that you've heard from today and others who are in the streets and couldn't be with us today.
Enira: But we'll turn to Linda, to give your final closing thoughts on all of the calls to action, what's next, and what you would want people to do. Tool kits, strategies, concrete steps forward.
Linda: Thank you so much to everyone that was on this call. I'm so fired up right now. I'm an organizer too. So I want to say what organizers do, which is to tell people what to do.
Linda: Number one, Enira, is support Daisy and support DeAngelo. We have Daisies in every corner of this country. We have DeAngelos in every corner of this country. You are not giving them charity. You are not giving them a donation. You are giving them an investment in the liberation work that they are doing for all of us. So please support these local organizers that are in your cities.
Linda: Number two, have the courageous conversations with your families. Make sure that you are talking at the dinner table about race, about anti-black racism, about what your children can be doing better, what you can be doing better. Read books, watch documentaries, have conversations.
Linda: Number three, a lot of people talk about elections. Elections are important, but we wake up every four years talking about who's going to be the president of the United States of America. All politics is local. Your district attorneys, your prosecutors, some of you have police chiefs that are also elected office. Those are where the power is: your local mayors, your local city council members. So do not wake up every four years, vote every year because there was an election every year. Support a young person of color, a marginalized person running for office. Put your money on them, invest in them.
Linda: And lastly, what I will say is continue to show up. As our brother, Nipsey Hussle says, "This is a marathon". It's not a sprint. You got to be in this for the long term. You got to be in it every day. And we cannot, again, forget the people of color who are on the front lines. They are exhausted. But they are fighting because they have to fight to survive. And it is our job to be there with them, to take their back, to help them. You know, sometimes you might have to help an organizer with daycare. Maybe you got to buy somebody dinner. Maybe you got to say, "Look, I'll do the administrative work. I'll go buy the stuff from Costco, for the protestors".
Linda: Find your role in this movement right now, and keep showing up and supporting those on the front lines.
Enira: Thank you so much, Linda. John, we turn to you. It's hard to do in a few minutes, but please share with us your call to action.
John: Well, again, first of all, I want to thank all the groups and people on this call. Enira you started out by talking about some of the things that have already happened.
John: The idea of de-funding the police. Los Angeles voted to take $100 million to $150 million from the police budget and invest it in the community. That was unheard of two years ago. Minneapolis was talking about disbanding the police, as Linda said, to really serve the people. That might've been talked about by organizers. There was no major city seriously considering it. So you already have that, you already have that. And there are many, many others. So I'd say stay involved. That's the most important thing.
John: Linda mentioned about voting. And I know among a lot of people they're like, "The systems don't serve us. Why should I vote? They don't count my vote. If they do count my vote, they don't pay attention". So I would say get involved. Civic engagement, and not just voting. Make the government work for you. Run for office yourself. One reason that Minneapolis could actually do that is demanding slate of progressive candidates and those candidates amount of power. Keith Ellison, who's a friend of mine, has been in town for the community his whole professional life. If he wasn't there, we'd be having a different result. So get involved.
John: The other thing is, think about money. Petition corporations. We need to talk about that. They only go so far. They may not go far enough, but the one example that I handed over.
John: The NFL have finally come out and said, "Okay, protest is okay". Kaepernick is not playing for football now because he took a knee. Now, years later, this is the 1916, I think he started four years later. The commissioner of NFL says, "We made a mistake. Protesting is okay". Trump slammed it. He didn't go far enough. It's like, "That's great commissioner, but what about Kaepernick's job? What about apologizing?"
John: So it's good. But it's not good enough. And the last thing I'll say, we have to speak clearly. We have to find our voice. We also have to find our ears. We have to be willing to listen to people, including people who are of good faith, who may not completely agree with us. We have to have the capacity both to listen and to contribute. If you go to our website, all of us have multiple things on there and you'll see many things you can get involved with.
Enira: Oh, thank you so much, John. I feel tempted on the NFL to say we've got to go further. Kaepernick does need his job, but we also have to take back the land. Remember the land was taken from black and brown communities to build those stadiums. And third, we've got to also acknowledge that you've got racist names, including right here in the nation's capital, for the NFL teams. So we've got a lot of work to do with the NFL. Not only to mention taking care of black bodies. So there's a lot there, but we will leave that for the moment. That's for a whole other show.
John: All that land was native land. Let's start there].
Enira: Absolutely. Let's be clear. So there's a lot on the NFL. We'll leave that one for another day. But please join me, everyone, in thanking these phenomenal participants. We've come together as a family to talk about the pain, to also talk clearly about what we're witnessing, and to give out our call to action. And I'm just so honored to have been a part of this gathering today.
Enira: I ask you all to stay focused, stay forward moving. I think there is a beautiful quote, from a colleague who started the Pan African Movement, and said, "Don't agonize, organize". What we are seeing is people all over the world who are organizing for change. We are on the right side of history. We will be able to bend that curve, to bend that arc of the moral universe towards justice. It can be done. It has been done before. With people pressuring for change will be done now. So take care of yourselves and your families. Know that it is a marathon, and know that with all of us working and standing together, linking hands in solidarity, justice and a better world will be ours.
Enira: We're going to have more of Marvin K. White come to close us out. We have limited time, but we want to make sure he grounds us in closing it out. In words of healing, words of inspiration, words of solidarity, Marvin, welcome. And thank you so much for all you bring to the world.
Marvin: We cannot be free and become algorithmic. We must know that sometimes our work is not miraculous. It is not magic. It is not accidental. This is real work.
Marvin: It is proof of the compositional body of protestors, preachers, and prophets, and organizers and thought leaders and every successful prison break, every successful insurrection. Every successful escape from whatever enslavement, every successful leaving of an abusive relationship, they all had a plan.
Marvin: Healing is not magic. It is strategic. Liberation is not magic. It is strategic. We must release from our bodies, our souls and our minds the negative messages that we received about our protest ways, our protest choices and our protest tools. We have never been without principle. Never been without direction. Never lacked drive. Never been lazy. We are not the coffee, we are the percolate. We are the dreamers. We are the thinkers. We are the doers. And we are whole and necessary and healthy right now, and are, for such a time as this, ready to get everyone free.
Marvin: There is today in this community gathered, despite the reports to the contrary, a rebuttal to jails that are advertising, "We are expecting you". Our mandate is to show up to a world that is crying for us to prove the for-profit prison systems wrong.
Marvin: Our mandate is to know that when we are called by the forces of domination, powerless, how close we actually are to power. We have to show our scars and our healing. We must be in the story and about the story. A character and an author. We must align ourselves with the misdemeanor and the lifer. We must remember this place we come from, and return to, is not called jail. Being human on earth is not jail and death is not jail. And we must bring our timeless faith into time right now. And the fact is that we are in fact already doing the work of liberation and the shift is infinitesimal.
Marvin: We are not, as they have told us and sold us, on the outside of the system. We are no longer colored and white clothes . There is no separation between our church and our states of mind.
Marvin: We are the nucleus in this here cell. We push out from the inside. There is no wall, no prison, no border that we can't bring down. The state, the rogue mutation, the cancer is on the outside and it has attached itself to our imagination, and is threatening us with the slow and quick death. It is making us sick and it is prescribing us medicine both.
Marvin: It is not interested in our wellness, but in managing our health and our care. It is not interested in our freedom, but just to sell us an all inclusive freedom experience package.
Marvin: Now imagine, if all of us at the same agreed upon time, maybe when the ancestor whispers mitosis or miosis, we split and divide and grow and begin to reproduce and give life and birth to something that pushes through to the outside of the medicine machine. Outside of the war machine. Outside of the education machine. Outside of the vote counting machine. Outside of the checked gender box machine. Outside of the parade permit machine. And outside of the prison industrial complex machine.
Marvin: Imagine all of us letting more people know that which they did not want them to know. That our embodied belonging is the tool that they don't want us to have. We hold all the keys to all the prisons. Hate imprisons people. Not forgiving people imprisons people. Don't be a jailer when you say you are a liberator.
Marvin: And at once all the prison doors, all the prison doors, all the prison doors flew open and everyone's chain came loose.