BackgroundOver the past few years, the movement against racist policing tactics and police killings has transformed the U.S. political terrain and brought much needed attention to police brutality that is endemic in the U.S. At the heart of this movement has been a crying call for justice for victims of this inhumane system that disproportionately target Black, Brown and Native peoples.
For generations, we have marched, sat-in, walked-out, blocked bridges, protested, and educated our communities about these issues in a struggle to transform the policies that produces these injustices. Yet, case after case, local and federal governments, the courts, police districts, and district attorneys have failed to deliver justice. Moreover, we have witnessed a selective, so-called "Blue Lives Matter" police backlash that aims to further institute racist policing practices and worsen police accountability to our communities. This year alone, there have been 32 “Blue Lives Matter” Bills proposed in 14 states across the country, despite the fact the police already benefit from a protected class status and are rarely held accountable for gross miscarriages of justice. Even the few gains related to reforms that have been won over the years are being rolled back by the Trump administration under the leadership of Jeff Sessions, in favor of policies that are proven failures. The cost of these failures is levied most heavily against Black, Brown and Native communities causing disproportionate representation of these populations in the criminal justice system; perpetuating and contributing to economic and political disenfranchisement; and infringing upon the life and liberties of people within these communities.
These policy rollbacks are occurring in a context where white supremacists, Nazis, and the so-called "alt-right" are openly marching, recruiting members, and terrorizing communities of color, Muslim and other religious minorities. We aim to hold state and federal agencies accountable for their contribution to inequity and racial injustice. We are standing and bearing witness.
We are bearing witness to an interlocking system of state-sanctioned violence reliant upon government agencies and civilian control mechanisms including Fraternal Order of Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and the Department of Justice.
We are bearing witness to mass incarceration, the unequal treatment under the law and the state-sanctioned destruction of Black, Brown and Native lives.
We are bearing witness to increased state-sanctioned and interpersonal violence against trans people and attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer civil rights protections.
We are bearing witness to increased violence against Muslim communities abroad and at home and the erosion of their civil rights in the racist and Islamophobic “war against terrorism”.
We are bearing witness to the normalization of rape culture, increased violence against women and infringement upon their rights to control their bodies, and the lack of equal pay for equal work, all overly impacting women of color.
We are bearing witness to the continued injustices and land grabs endured by Native peoples as demonstrated by the protest at Standing Rock.
We are bearing witness to the disenfranchisement and for-profit criminalization of the poor.
We are bearing witness to the inhuman treatment of people with disabilities, of the working class and low-income by threatening and barring access to affordable healthcare.
We are bearing witness to the criminalization of immigrants, undocumented and documented.
We are bearing witness to the continued criminalization of Black, Brown and Native lives.
We are bearing witness to environmental degradation and lack of infrastructure in times of natural disasters harming Native and people of color communities.
And we say #notonemore. Not one more death. Not one more victim. Not one more injustice perpetuated by racist laws and policies.
The March for Racial Justice is a multi-community movement led by a coalition united in our demands for racial equity and justice. We march because as long as U.S. laws, policies, and practices remain steeped in racism and white supremacy, basic human rights and civil rights for all — our universal and constitutional rights — will never be fully realized. It is our duty then to dismantle oppression, and to challenge, reverse and put an end to racist laws, policies and practices that dehumanize people of color while sustaining white supremacy and racism.
Statement about Yom Kippur & Date ChangeFirst, we want to apologize to the Jewish community. Now is not the time to be defensive or make excuses. We would like to acknowledge that our planning group did realize the date of the national march and the local march coincided with Yom Kippur. We made a gross underestimation, due to ignorance, of the practices and significance of this holy day, which we will rectify and for which we hope you will forgive us.
We would also like to take this time to acknowledge the terrible rise in, and history of, anti-semitism within this country and abroad. Especially chilling is the rise of nazi, neo-nazi, white nationalist and supremacist groups and the centrality of antisemitism in their genocidal world-view and historical practice. We would like to share our horror and our determination to combat anti-semitism, racism, antiblackness, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and fascism, and any other form of oppression, wherever it is found. The events in Charlottesville on the weekend of August 11 reverberated through every community here in Providence and RI. The terroristic vandalism taking place at the Holocaust memorial in Boston Tuesday is yet another reminder that we need to do more to stand with the Jewish community. The unity shown at Saturday’s counter-protest march should shine as an example of how we can and must come together to work for a work free of all oppressive forces. We are the majority and we will persist together.
Our delayed, and undoubtedly frustrating response is a reminder that anti-semitism, like anti-blackness, is not just a problem of the far-right, but that we can all perpetuate it. This was our fault. We will do better, and we’re sorry to anyone who was hurt, or felt compromised, and to the Jewish community especially.
We will be moving the date of the event, to October 1st, which is the second day of the Elaine Massacre which was a significant event in American history for black people. We want to be inclusive to all as we feel The Movement for Black Lives provides a blueprint and a framework to erase oppression and suffering for all people. This also means we are looking into securing translators for Spanish and ASL, at minimum, and making sure that our event is accessible to disabled people as well. We ask for ALL communities to join us in working for racial justice. We are centering the platform of the Movement for Black Lives and we welcome and include all who want to join our committed efforts toward racial justice because none of us our free until we are ALL free.