Black Land and Liberation on Juneteenth

Dear Catalyst community,

Today on Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery, Black people across the country will be taking back land and reclaiming space, from vacant lots to empty school buildings. These actions are about the broken promises of reparations, and about where wealth comes from – who has benefited and who has been harmed.

For white people, this is an incredible opportunity to both support these efforts, and have conversations about reparations. Where does the financial wealth in white communities come from?  Whose land, labor, and lives were stolen to build it – from Black communities to Indigenous communities and beyond. How do we help redistribute these resources, whether or not they sit in our family’s hands?  What else do we owe?

This is an excerpt from “Reparations for Black Land and Liberation Manifesto” by the Black Land and Liberation Initiative:
“We continue the legacy of those who have fought before us and have sought the return of stolen accumulated wealth. We assert the fundamental right to the resources required to create our own, dignified and sustainable livelihoods through our own labor and self-governance. Key among those resources is land…

Let us be clear that the value of suffering can never be calculated and the lives lost never returned. However, reparations is about repairing our relations. While it must include amends for past harm, it must also transform our relationships to each other and the living world so that such harm can never happen again.

We call for a return of accumulated wealth to Black people in the US and Black people across the diaspora. We call for a release of stolen land. We vow to work with integrity and build partnership with those whose lands were stolen and with the land itself. We vow to continue the struggle, to
build liberated black spaces, institutions, and power until we are returned what is rightfully ours.”

 To read the whole manifesto and learn more, go here

How to plug in for Juneteenth:

  • Black folks: Organize local actions or join one that’s being organized! Visit the M4BL website to see a growing map of actions planned, and plug yours in. Also, use and share the tools on the BLLI FB page and BLLI website (including their action planning toolkit)!
  • Non-Black allies:
    • Reach out to Black folks organizing actions in your city, and follow and respect Black leadership by offering ways to support.
    • Read, share, and organize your folks around the BLLI Reparations Manifesto.
    • Donate to land-based projects led by Black people.
  • Everyone: Follow and spread the hashtags #40Acres40Cities and #LandandLiberation. Don’t forget to check out the BLLI Facebook page!
Watch this short video about why Black people are reclaiming land this Juneteenth!