Building a Pro-Justice, Antiracist Society
This article contains the content from the 6/18/2020 Bioneers Pulse newsletter. Sign up here to get the newsletter straight to your inbox!
American history is inseparable from the anti-Black racism and exploitation weaved into its very foundation. As we seek to topple systems of violence and oppression against Black communities, we must acknowledge these uncomfortable truths, but also the people power that has driven the most powerful civil rights movements throughout history. That includes the one we’re living through now. We’re beginning to see glimmers of action towards pathways forward and practical solutions that, on their own, will not “fix” systemic racism but represent real steps in the right direction.
This week, we explore anti-racism with Ibram Kendi, restorative justice with Fania Davis and public health at the nexus of racism and state violence with Dr. Rupa Marya. Read on and share widely, help us move forward towards a united, antiracist society.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring that all enslaved people were to be set free. But it wasn’t until two years later, on June 19, 1865, that Major General Gordon Granger had delivered that message to the last group of Black Americans subjected to slavery in Galveston, Texas.
As a celebration of Black freedom and liberation, Juneteenth is a powerful kind of Independence Day. Find a list of Juneteenth resources below, including essential readings and events near you.
- From Teen Vogue: “What Is Juneteenth, How Is It Celebrated, and Why Does It Matter?” | This article is a great place to educate yourself on the historical context of Juneteenth, from 1865 until today.
- From Six Nineteen: This nonprofit organization is organizing Juneteenth uprisings nationwide, to send the message that Black Lives Matter.
- From the New Yorker: “Growing Up with Juneteenth” | Professor and historian Annette Gordon-Reed reflects on how a Texan holiday transformed into a national tradition.
- From Demos: This digital letter includes ways to support Black leadership and to take action against racial injustice.
Restorative Justice: From Harm to Healing | Fania Davis & Cameron Simmons
The restorative justice movement has boldly shown that arresting the cycle of youth violence and incarceration early can lead to significant changes. Restorative justice leaders Fania Davis and Cameron Simmons describe the incredibly effective work being done to transform schools and juvenile justice policies in Oakland, CA and around the country.
How to Be an Antiracist: A Conversation With Ibram X. Kendi
In his book How to Be an Antiracist, professor Ibram X. Kendi challenges traditional definitions of racism, and who can be racist. In this interview, Kendi discusses what’s missing from the discourse around racism, the difference between antiracism and non-racism, and more.
Rupa Marya – Health and Justice: The Path of Liberation through Medicine
Dr. Marya has been working to make visible the health issues at the nexus of racism and state violence through: her medical work; The Justice Study (national research investigating the health effects of police violence on Black, Brown and other disenfranchised communities); helping set up a free community clinic for the practice of decolonized medicine under Lakota leadership at Standing Rock (the Mni Wiconi Health Clinic); and international outreach with her band, Rupa and the April Fishes.
What We’re Tracking:
- From the Washington Post: “I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet.” | Marine biologist and policy expert Ayana Johnson pens this op-ed around a burning question: “How can we expect black Americans to focus on climate when we are so at risk on our streets, in our communities, and even within our own homes?”
- From New York Times Magazine: “Slavery gave America a fear of black people and a taste for violent punishment. Both still define our criminal-justice system.” | This article is part of the magazine’s 1619 Project, which examines the legacy of slavery in America.
- From Kanopy: “WHOSE STREETS?” | This short film provides an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising, told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice.
- From NPR: “How Much Do We Need The Police?” | In this interview, Alex S. Vitale — author of the book, The End of Policing — discusses what roles police should and shouldn’t play, what he makes of the current protests and what actual change in the way police in this country do their jobs might look like.
- From Yes! Magazine: “Why Police Reform Is Not Enough” | This essay asserts that the focus on police reforms, such as improved training, doesn’t solve racially biased policing. That’s because of the nature of policing itself.
Take Action with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Today, years of hard-fought civil liberty protections are under threat — and to influence lawmakers, the ACLU needs everyone to get involved. Click the button below for actions that you can take, both big and small, to help make a difference.