Fighting ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Legislation
Part of the backlash to the growing Black youth-led movement against police violence and policing includes the push for malicious legislation to protect police officers who harm others and punish those who protest them. So-called ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bills were introduced in at least 14 states, with the first being introduced in Louisiana. This type of legislation would classify police officers as a group targeted by hate crimes and further escalate how protesters get charged and prosecuted protesters on trumped-up charges, scenarios in which police officers are always favored over other people. BYP100’s New Orleans chapter fought hard against the passage of this bill, emphasizing that the intent behind it was to infringe on freedom of speech and intimidate those who might speak out against or protest the police. Similarly, our Chicago chapter fought a city ordinance of the same vein as a part of a coalition that ran a campaign called The Bluest Lie.
Holding Elected Officials Accountable & Claiming Our Power
Since our inception, BYP100 has always employed multiple strategies for building power on multiple terrains. One of these terrains has been that of voter engagement and holding elected officials accountable. BYP100’s approach to voter engagement has always been about lifting up our issues instead of lifting up candidates. We know where we stand on our issues and voter engagement has always been about informing other Black people and encouraging them to vote in a way that supports the issues that will improve the lives of our communities.
Building 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. The Agenda to Build Black Futures, BYP100’s 2nd public policy agenda, is a set of economic goals and structural changes that could improve the lives of Black people living in America. We envision a more economically just society that values the lives and well-being of ALL Black people, including women, queer, and transgender folks, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated as well as those who languish in the bottom 1% of the economic hierarchy. Within the frame of the Agenda to Build Black Futures, BYP100 has launched, partnered on, and inspired campaigns across the country to bring us closer to an economic system that is just, equitable, and supports the future of Black communities. Read the full agenda at agendatobuildblackfutures.org.
As a part of the Movement for Black Lives, BYP100 contributed to the Vision for Black Lives platform, which outlines policies that would improve the lives of Black people and move us closer to a just world in six key areas, and can be found at https://policy.m4bl.org/platform/.
In 2017, BYP100 collaborated with the Center for Popular Democracy & Law for Black Lives to publish the Freedom to Thrive report, which outlines racial disparities, policing landscapes, and budgets in 12 jurisdictions across the country. The report dives deep into how these specific local areas are impacted by the ongoing divestment from what Black communities need and investment in systems that harm us as described in the Agenda to Build Black Futures & Vision for Black Lives. The Freedom to Thrive: Reimagining Safety & Security in Our Communities report can be found at https://populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/Freedom%20To%20Thrive%2C%20Higher%20Res%20Version.pdf
In addition to voter engagement, we have participated in efforts to hold elected officials accountable. BYP100 Chicago joined a city-wide coalition including groups like Assata’s Daughters, Fearless Leading by the Youth (F.L.Y.), and Black Lives Matter: Chicago to successfully defeat the Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez. The campaign used multiple tactics including traditional door knocking and outreach activities, as well as creative direct actions and political education that drew widespread attention to Alvarez’s role in the criminalization of Black Chicagoans and in the cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald. Due to this grassroots organizing work, Alvarez failed to be reelected and local organizers proved that the people do have the power and ability to ‘fire’ elected officials who do not serve us.