Black Lives Matter

“2014 was a year that saw profound injustice, and extraordinary resilience. Homicides at the hands of police sparked massive protests, meaning that America could no longer ignore bitter truths of the Black experience. … This country must abandon the lie that the deep psychological wounds of slavery, racism and structural oppression are figments of the Black imagination. The time to address these wounds is now.” – #BlackLivesMatter

A groundswell movement for justice has seeded itself across the United States – rooted in Black Liberation struggles as old as slavery, and bolstered by international solidarity and support. We find ourselves at a critical moment to align with the call for systemic reform and respond with right action to state violence against African Americans in the United States. The following resources can help us make an informed response. You are encouraged to contribute to this list by commenting on the page. Materials that support further inquiry can be found on the Themes and Resources page.

Ferguson Action: “Our Vision for a New America”
“This is a watershed moment and the people of Ferguson are have created a space for the rest of us to demand change in this country” (Nicole Lee, civil rights attorney and legal aid observer). Ferguson Action (grassroots response of the frontline community in Ferguson, MO) has articulated the need for structural change in this detailed, national vision for America.

Check out the national website for the most up to date information about the movement.

State of the Black Union – #BlackLivesMatter
Published Jan 22, 2015, key leadership in the Black Lives Matter movement describes the state of the black union in video format.

PBS NewsHour Nov. 26, 2014: How do we bridge the divide among Americans over race and justice?
“They see this not only as the fight of their lives, but the fight for their lives. And so, across the country, when you looked at all of those rallies yesterday, you saw young people … the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee of our time.” Gwen Ifill interviews Carroll Doherty (the Pew Research Center), Judith Browne-Dianis (the Advancement Project), and Isabel Wilkerson (“The Warmth of Other Suns”).

Melissa Harris-Perry: the Deaths of Black Men in America
“From 2006-2012 a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week in this country.” Melissa Harris-Perry offers this chilling, fact based recounting of the death of unarmed black men at the hands of white law enforcement, and then grounds this account in the historical statement issued by the Supreme Court in 1847 in response to the Dred Scott case.

Black Lives Matter – A Reflection
Insight Meditation teacher Ruth King offers us a heart-entry reflection on unarmed people of color killed at the hands of police, and makes a call – based in Dharma and Buddhist ethics – to act. “We begin by being willing to look, feel, care, and act as if our life depended on our actions, because it does.”

What Killed Eric Garner was more than Just a Chokehold
“In a study on how implicit bias affects policing, renowned UCLA psychologist Phillip Goff found that … upwards of 90% of our actions are determined by implicit beliefs, not explicit ones. And everyone tested by Goff associated black people with more negative traits than white people.” MSNBC looks at the role of implicit bias in the strangulation of Eric Garner.

Why Ferguson must lead to Change
In this interview with Relevant magazine Lisa Sharon Harper (senior director of mobilization for Sojourners) gives a succinct, historical account of the criminalization of African Americans in the mind of white America and offers a Christian perspective on healing and reconciliatation.

12 Things White People Can Do Now [About] Ferguson
“A lot of white people aren’t speaking out publicly against the killing of Michael Brown because they don’t see a space for themselves to engage meaningfully in the conversation so that they can move to action against racism.” Former attorney and independent blogger Janee Woods writes about 12 ways to be a white ally in the wake of Ferguson.

SURJ (Showing up for Racial Justice)
SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing White people for racial justice. Through community organizing, mobilizing, and education, SURJ moves White people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. We work to connect people across the country while supporting and collaborating with local and national racial justice organizing efforts. SURJ works closely with Black Lives Matter leadership (at the national and local levels), and is a powerful avenue for white involvement in this struggle.

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