In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda.
Our resistance and rebellion are not new, but like other times in history have come to a critical mass, and the bravery of those in Ferguson and across the country captured the attention of the world. A year ago, over 2,000 of us gathered in Cleveland to reflect on the state of our movement for liberation and celebrate our people, both those who have fallen and those who have survived. It was there that we began the process of uniting to articulate a shared vision of the world we want to live in.
Cleveland reaffirmed what we already knew. Neither our grievances nor our solutions are limited to the police killing of our people. State violence takes many forms – it includes the systemic underinvestment in our communities, the caging of our people, predatory state and corporate practices targeting our neighborhoods, government policies that result in the poisoning of our water and the theft of our land, failing schools that criminalize rather than educate our children, economic practices that extract our labor, and wars on our Trans and Queer family that deny them their humanity. On the last day of the conference hundreds gathered to have strategy conversations about what liberation would look like and the policies, organizing and resources that would be needed to get us there. During those conversations we received a mandate – it was time to articulate our vision and unite behind it.
In response to this mandate, the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table engaged in a year long process of convening local and national groups to create a United Front. The result of our collective efforts is this platform. In addition to the groups in the United Front, we have also engaged our people. We have received feedback from hundreds of people through surveys, national calls, organizational membership, engaged dozens of other organizations, researchers, and other individuals for their insights and expertise to begin developing a framework for shared policy priorities. It does not include every policy Black people should be working on, but elevates those for which there was shared energy and action in this political moment.
What Is This?
Our hope is that this is both an articulation of our collective aspirations as well as a document that provides tangible resources for groups and individuals doing the work. We recognize that some of the demands in this document will not happen today. But we also recognize that they are necessary for our liberation.
For each of the 30+ policies in the document, we have policy briefs that describe the steps that must be taken to get us closer to our liberation. These briefs include information about whether legislation can happen at the local, state or federal level, information about groups already working on related projects, and resources including model legislation and talking points.
Why a Platform?
We want this platform to be both a visionary agenda for our people and a resource for us. We take as a departure point the reality that by every metric – from the hue of its prison population to its investment choices – the U.S. is a country that does not support, protect or preserve Black life. And so we seek not reform but transformation. As this platform launches in the context of the Democratic National Convention, we also recognize that neither mainstream political party has our interests at heart. We know all too well that the reforms that have passed at the local and state level do not address the root causes of the killing, dehumanization, and torture of our people. Instead, many increase police budgets and diagnosis the problem as one of “implicit bias” or “bad apples.” At best these are band aids on gaping bullet wounds, and at worse they are interventions that simply increase corporate and state power and make it easier for the state to devalue and destroy our communities.
Our history has taught us that we must create our own agenda, we must implement it, and we must hold elected leaders accountable to following through. In a long tradition of Black covenants for Freedom, from the African National Congress Freedom Charter to the Black RadicalFreedom Agenda, we offer this document as an articulation of our aspirations in this moment.
We are Black people from all walks of life – young, elder, queer, cis, trans, differently abled. We have come together in the rich tradition of our ancestors to imagine new ways forward for our liberation. We are dreamers and doers knowing that our work draws on the best of our history but must go beyond it to forge a fierce, free and beautiful future together that we can only imagine into reality.
Members of the United Front
Black Alliance for Just Immigration
Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100)
Southerners On New Ground
Philadelphia Student Union
Alliance for Educational Justice
Black Lives Matter Network
Organization for Black Struggle
Highlander Research and Education Center
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
The National Conference of Black Lawyers
Black Women’s Blueprint
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
The Worker’s Center for Racial Justice
The BlackOut Collective
Open Democracy Project at Crescent City Media Group
National Black Food and Justice Alliance
Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth
Dignity and Power Now
Center for Media Justice
Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota
BIG: Blacks in Green
Mothers Against Police Brutality
Color of Change
Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative
Black Liberation Collective
Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity
Center for Constitutional Rights
People of Color Beyond Faith
Central Illinois CBTU
Racial Justice Action Center (RJAC)
Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (Snap Co.)
Million Women March Cleveland
The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy
Women of Color Network, Inc.
Right To The City
Jobs With Justice
Philly Coalition for REAL Justice
Center For Third World Organizing
PICO’s Live Free Campaign
Southeast Asian Freedom Network
National Economic & Social Rights Initiative
Center for Popular Democracy
Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign
Community Justice Network for Youth
Institute of the Black World 21st Century
National African American Reparations Commission
Brooklyn Movement Center
The Truth Telling Project
New York State Prisoner Justice Network
Good Jobs Now
The Ordinary People’s Society
People’s Justice Project
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
Urban Youth Collaborative
European Reparations Commission (ERC)
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE)
Fellowship of Reconciliation, USA
North Star Fund
James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Ferguson Response Network
Democratic Socialists of America
National Lawyer’s Guild
Citizen Action of New York
Jewish Voice for Peace
White Coats for Black Lives
Queer Palestinian Empowerment Network
New York Communities for Change
The Power Shift Network
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Partnership for Working Families
Prison Action Network
Click here to see more endorsers
**Endorsement of the platform reflects support of the forty policy demands listed but not necessarily an endorsement of the accompanying policy briefs or campaigns listed under the “Take Action” section of this website
Click Here To Join As An Endorsing Organization
About The M4BL Policy Table
The M4BL Policy Table will focus on supporting the development and implementation of visionary and uncompromising local, national, and international policy objectives aimed at ending state-sanctioned violence against Black communities. The table will do this by:
- Coordinating, supporting, and elevating local policies that divest in policing, invests in strong communities, and ensure community control
- Work to change the national narrative around policing & incarceration, serving as a hub for innovate and visionary thinking inspired by the need to challenge existing federal policy, laws and regulations, struggle to find alignment with regards to national demands, and collaborate on the development of transformative national policies
- Use upcoming international opportunities and human rights mechanisms to expose the systemic human rights violations inflicted on black communities, the linkages between people of African descent in the US with other Black people around the world, make connections with oppressed people globally, and chip away at American exceptionalism