In the past two weeks, police officers have strangled, shot and killed four, unarmed Black men. We honor the lives of Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown and Ezell Ford; and mourn with those who love them.
As we grieve the loss of our brothers, we also mourn the life of Renisha McBride and grieve over the brutal beatings of Marlene Pinnock and Ersula Ore. Despite the lack of media attention, we know our sisters are also brutalized and murdered at the hands of police officers and vigilantes too.
In the aftermath of yet another series of slaughters, we have been asked to accept the unacceptable expectations of a society that has never loved us. Are we to sit quietly and see our own sisters’ and brothers’ bodies rotting in the streets? Should we be expected to continue to struggle to identify our family members by their socks or jewelry because there are too many bullet holes in their faces?
Regardless of education level, style of dress, romantic partner or circle of friends, Black people in the United States are the targets of a system that supports merciless police officers, willing to spill our innards on street corners. They face no consequences in a ‘criminal injustice’ system. There is no recourse because Black people, especially poor Black people, are all too often seen as sub-human.
Beyond our current frustration and anger, our memory hums as our ancestors call out to us. We will redeem their suffering through collective work for liberation. Stoicism, respectability politics and piecemeal measures of progress are not working. Our tearful pleas and desperate cries have gone unheard.
Since 1619, this white supremacist and patriarchal society has devalued and demonized Black bodies in order to justify the forests of hatred and greed they have planted over every square inch of this land. While police officers, judges, and juries continue to nurture these vile gardens, we choose to create a new path. Patience and properness have their place, and their place is in the past. We reject sanitized portrayals of Black liberators which are used to manipulate us into apathy and inaction.
We recognize that American media, law enforcement and ‘criminal injustice’ systems do not recognize Black people as humans worthy of respect and dignity. Investigations continue to arrive at the same conclusions — the victim is guilty. With this statement and our actions, we rebuke their opinions, analysis, and their critiques of our chosen methods and strategies to achieve our liberation. With this statement we affirm the value of all Black lives, especially our brothers and sisters in Ferguson, MO who are being referred to as ‘animals’ ‘thugs’ and ’niggers’ by those sworn to protect them.
We are resolute in our desire to build a new world for all of us. We are organizing and taking direct action on the ground. We are committed to working with organizations who share our values, and will continue to organize. Now, we need to hear from you. Our stories are powerful tools that when used effectively can bring about the conditions for our liberation. We ask Black people between the ages of 13 and 35 to submit 1-3 minute videos describing how you have been profiled, abused or violated by the police. Click here to learn more and submit your video.
We ask you to crowd every street corner, bus stop and block with your stories. We ask you to love and protect each other. We ask you to raise your voices so that even Eric, Mike, John, Ezell and Renisha may hear.
We Ready, We Comin’
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do this through building a network focused on transformative leadership development, non-violent direct action organizing, advocacy and education using a Black queer feminist lens. We are an organization affiliated with the Black Youth Project.