July 16th, 2013
To our community and families–
In the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict that “declared open season” on Black bodies, our broken hearts are shouting for change. This moment is a wakeup call- in the same month in which the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, this acquittal says it’s still legal to lynch Black people. Last year, every 28 hours a Black person was killed by police or vigilantes, and we barely hear about most of these murders, especially when the person killed is female or transgender.
“Justice was always going to elude Trayvon Martin, not because the system failed, but because it worked. Martin died and Zimmerman walked because our entire political and legal foundations were built on an ideology of settler colonialism — an ideology in which the protection of white property rights was always sacrosanct; predators and threats to those privileges were almost always black, brown, and red; and where the very purpose of police power was to discipline, monitor, and contain populations rendered a threat to white property and privilege.” Robin D.G. Kelley
ACTION STEPS BELOW THE JUMP
To our Black friends and family members– we stand behind you in mourning, in anger, in solidarity. We honor your resilience, your continued dignity in the face of such concerted attempts at dehumanization, your importance to this world. With deep respect, we recommit ourselves to working beside you to root out the horror that is white supremacy.
To our fellow white people committed to racial justice, we say: If not now, when? Take leadership in your community to be part of moving massive numbers of white people away from our participation in systemic racism. We each need to find action steps, ways to better translate our commitments into effective action. We need to take responsibility for shifting the culture that allows Marissa Alexander, a Black woman defending herself against an abusive partner, to be sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot by the same attorney who prosecuted Zimmerman.
As abolitionists, we at Catalyst Project seek justice and community healing, not punitive incarceration. Guilty verdicts and prison sentences do not move us towards human rights. It’s a dead end, as Adrienne Maree Brown writes, “to rely on the system that set them up for death to deliver their justice.”
At the same time, we must mount a clear, massive challenge to the system which pronounced Trayvon Martin’s life so insignificant that his death didn’t even legally constitute manslaughter. On every level– from kitchen conversations to grassroots mobilizing to policy changes– it’s time.
As Deon Haywood of Women with a Vision, said this Sunday at a Solidarity Rally for Trayvon Martin in New Orleans,
“We talk about rights, but sometimes there’s a thin line between rights and your LIFE – I want you to stand up. And I want you to be angry and frustrated enough that you can not longer sit down. That you get up in the morning, you say, “What am I gonna do today?”
And for those of you who feel like you can’t. If you feel like you cannot do it, then donate to those who will. Figure out how to support them…. Don’t let this moment end and feel like,”I went to the park! And I supported that event in the park! Tell me six months from now that you’re still supporting this event. Tell me a year from now you are still supporting this moment.”
With grief, rage, and hope for a new way forward– Hoodies Up. Affirm life.
Love, Catalyst Project
Get involved with local racial justice efforts. Listen to voices of color, especially Black folks. Talk to your people, especially the ones who don’t get what’s going on. Write letters to Marissa Alexander (address below) and Trayvon Martin’s mother.
Figure out how you can be in this for the long haul. Join an organization, or if you’re already part of something, help friends plug in somewhere meaningful.
Support Black activists and Black organizing projects materially and financially. Support national organizing and also directly supporting organizing in your area. This national list of grassroots racial justice organizations contains many groups rooted in Black communities, and this is only one place to start.
Sign Color of Change’s petition to repeal Stand Your Ground laws, a key intervention supported by folks ranging from the NAACP to Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.
Sign the NAACP’s petition for the Department of Justice to open a civil case
Join the conversations about privilege, power and justice at We Are Not Trayvon Martin.
Keep posted on proposed next steps from Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.This is their list of key interventions. Can you contribute to this racial justice agenda?
- Repeal the “Stand Your Ground Law”
- Immediately Release Marissa Alexander
- We call for the elimination of the Police Bill of Rights and the numerous civil service rules and judicial policies and procedures that give the police anonymity, freedom from having their behavior recorded and virtual immunity from accountability and prosecution.
- End to the various polices of containment such as racial profiling, stop and frisk, gang injunctions, secure communities, etc.
- End the “War on Drugs” and all of its related laws, policies and programs
- Enact democratically elected “Police Control Boards”, with the power to fire, subpoena, and indict police officers for human rights violations
- Demilitarization of domestic law enforcement, including eliminating the use of Drones and various surveillance operations and institutions.
- The redirection of military funding to social programs, such as public education, housing, health care, public transportation, and grassroots-controlled programs to prevent domestic and intra-communal violence.
- Legislate and enact a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice that will make the United States government compliant with all the norms and standards of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on all levels
You can also write to Marissa in prison at this address:
Marissa Alexander #2012033887
500 East Adam St.
Jacksonville, FL 32202