The Black Lives Matter Movement Has New Demands for Justice & Calls for Reparations
Today (August 1), many of the social-justice organizations within the civil-rights movement known as Black Lives Matter are unveiling a series of policy goals aimed at redefining and honing the movement’s direction. Also being referred to as a list of demands, the platform – officially titled “A Vision For Black Lives: Policy Demands For Black Power, Freedom, and Justice,” is the result of more than 60 different organizations connected to the Black Lives Matter collective of activists. In total, six specific goals are outlined and as the presidential election encroaches, there is pressure being put on both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to respond to and include some of the demands within their own policy platforms.
According to the New York Times, “the groups are demanding, among other things, reparations for what they say are past and continuing harms to African-Americans, an end to the death penalty, legislation to acknowledge the effects of slavery, as well as investments in education initiatives, mental health services and jobs programs.” These demands come during a time when racial tensions in the United States are extremely high, with some arguing the atmosphere feels much like it did during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and ’60s. They also come on the heels of the Republican and Democratic National Committees, where issues of police brutality were included (to differing degrees) in speeches by both presidential candidates.
M.Adams, the co-executive director of the nonprofit Freedom Inc. is quoted in the Times as saying “[w]e wanted to intervene in this current political moment where there is all this amazing and inspiring work that is resisting state violence and corporate power” and that, although the list of demands is in part directed towards Clinton and Trump, “the coalition will not be endorsing any presidential candidate.” In fact, the coalition’s work on putting together the revamped objectives began over a year ago and now that they’ve been announced, pushing for the realization of the coalition’s goals will begin to take place. The group’s behind the coalition “now plan to start local campaigns aimed at pushing for changes in law enforcement and community programs in cities across the country,” writes Times journalist Yamiche Alcindor.
The movement itself has set up a website detailing the coalition’s objectives as well as how people can get involved. “In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda,” it is written. But beyond violence at the hands of law enforcement, the coalition also puts forth its desire to enact policies to help protect LGBTQ communities of color as well as immigrants, climate change, war, exploitation, and more. And, while the groups stand in solidarity with international movements around the world, some of their boldest proclamations involve Black Americans, right here at home.
“[W] demand an end to the wars against Black people. We demand that the government repair the harms that have been done to Black communities in the form of reparations and targeted long-term investments,” they say. “We also demand a defunding of the systems and institutions that criminalize and cage us,” referring to mass incarceration and criminal-justice flaws that disproportionately affect people of color. Included in their definition of reparations are things like “free access and open admissions to public community colleges and universities,” “a guaranteed minimum livable income for all Black people with clearly articulated corporate regulations,” “corporate and government reparations focused on healing ongoing physical and mental trauma,” and “mandated public school curriculums that critically examine the political, economic, and social impacts of colonialism and slavery.”
Heads looking to get involved in helping actualize reparations and the many other demands of the Movement for Black Lives Coalition can do so by clicking here to learn more about launching or joining a campaign.