FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 20, 2016
L’lerrét Jazelle Ailith
BYP100 DC and BLM DC Shutdown National Fraternal Order of Police
BYP100 and BLM DC join with the Movement for Black Lives demanding divestment from policing and calling for #FreedomNow. Livestream here –> http://byp100.org/breakingdcfopshutdown/
Washington, D.C. – On July 20, 2016, BYP100 DC and other local Black organizers have occupied the Legislative Office of the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to demand that police officers invested in accountability and justice stop paying dues to the FOP, a private police union that protects officers – including those who kill and maim civilians – by ensuring they are paid administrative leave while under investigation, maintain their jobs, and are not charged or acquitted of wrongdoing.
In a centuries long battle for self determination and freedom from anti-Black, marginalizing systems, Black people have fallen victim to targeting, policing, and murder at the hands of the state – specifically, the police. It is time that the state pours into our communities to create better systems of support for our people and not into anti-Black institutions that have perpetually filed us. As articulated in our economic justice platform, the Agenda to Build Black Futures, “America’s economic system has systematically failed Black communities for whole lifetimes with discriminatory policies; investment in policing, surveillance, incarceration; and chronic underinvestment in our livelihood.” Racial justice is economic justice and ensuring that our government divests from violent, criminal institutions and invests in quality services for our people is one step towards our imagined vision towards liberation.
“The FOP acts like a college fraternity and is responsible for maintaining the harmful, lethal, unethical, and unaccountable culture of policing while the families and communities impacted when officers brutalize civilians are left to mourn with little, if any, semblance of justice. Just like college frats that further rape culture by closing ranks to protect members who are sexual assailants, the FOP has proven that their primary commitment is to protect the worst of their members behind the ‘Blue Wall of Silence’ – even in the most heinous of circumstances. The FOP is the most dangerous fraternity in America and they need to be stopped,” remarks Clarise McCants, BYP100 DC Organizer.
In this moment where “AllLivesMatter” has been disrespectfully used to invalidate and undermine our movement, we observe the ways in which “BluelivesMatter” functions similarly. Where “blue lives” are representative of the carceral state and the uncapped power of this system to continue to devour and consume our people at insurmountable rates. All this without fear of being called to heel in light of legislation and ordinances that demonize dissent or calls for transformation. Our organizers have been actively engaged in campaigns to resist “BlueLivesMatter” legislation such as HB-953 that was passed in Louisiana as well as one ordinance pending in Chicago.
“Young Black people are leading mobilizations and direct action around the country because we are not safe and there are currently no sufficient pathways offererd by the state for us to voice our needs. We have to take the initiative to insert our own voices in a conversation that impacts our lives because that right has unfortunately not been afforded to us,” says Asha Rosa, BYP100 Organizing Chair.
In 2015, it has been documented that 258 Black people have died at the hands of the police with the vast majority being between the ages of 18 and 29. We are under attack. We are living in a state of emergency and it is imperative that we do not become complacent. Police violence is not random – it is an organized system of control that is well funded, resourced, and backed by institutions that do not have the safety and protection of Black people in their interests. The Department of Justice has allotted a 2017 budget of $4.7 billion towards grants to local police departments when that money would be best used as a reinvestment into education, employment, health, housing, and restorative justice services in Black communities. Stop the cops and #FundBlackFutures!
“Now is the time to commit to building a world where we deal with harm and conflict without police and prisons. We are organizing – fueled by our righteous anger and radical love for Black people – demand a better future where the economy prioritizes cooperative economics over capitalism, where we are all safe, and where we are all healthy and free.” – Charlene Carruthers, BYP100 National Director
We will not stop until our demands are met:
- We demand the immediate defunding of police departments and divestment from a system that criminalizes and incarcerates our people at the local, state, and federal level and a direct investment into education, health, and housing of our people
- We demand investments that promote the economic stability of our community control over institutions that are meant to serve us
- We demand prompt and efficient movement on legislation passed that will work towards achieving our vision of Black safety and stability
We will be mobilizing in conjunction with the Movement for Black Lives – a coalition between BYP100, Black Lives Matter Network, Project South, Blackout Collective, Million Hoodies Movement for Justice, and many other Black racial justice organizations. We are committed to engaging in this work in our local communities across the nation and will keep you posted on any further developments.
BYP 100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people. We do our work through a Black queer feminist lens.