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What we’re reading: Beyond conventions

Photo: / AFSC

As the news cycle is dominated by the theatrics of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, we take a look outside the convention walls to learn from grassroots organizers and activists across the country.

This multiracial 'People's Caravan' is trekking from the RNC to the DNC to condemn election-season hate, by Yessenia Funes, via Colorlines

A caravan of 20 organizations travels from the RNC to the DNC to lift up a message of racial and environmental justice. “The Grassroots Global Justice Alliance organized the caravan, which includes activists from Asian Pacific Environmental Network, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, Communities for a Better Environment, and the Indigenous Environmental Network. These Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Black, Muslim, and working-class White organizers are collaborating ‘to pledge resistance to racism, hate and misogyny,’ which they say has pervaded this election season.” 


Battling convention: Inside the police’s playbook for repressing protests at national conventions, by Kris Hermes, via Jacobin

Millions of dollars in federal funds go toward militarizing local police during convention season. “The effort to thwart convention protests begins months before any delegate sets foot in the host city. Since 2000, every political convention has been designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE), which allows officials to establish a robust, multi-agency law enforcement apparatus (with the FBI and Secret Service at the top) and to have to access to millions of federal dollars for police equipment, weaponry, and personnel.” 


Young Black protesters blockade police facilities across the country, by Kelly Hayes, via Truthout

Across the country, the movement for Black lives is shutting down police facilities to protest the continued police killings of Black people. “In New York, protesters with the national organization Black Youth Project 100 (BYP) and the Million Hoodies New York City Chapter formed a human blockade at the Lower Manhattan Headquarters of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association to demand the immediate firing of Officer Wayne Issacs, and to call attention to institutions that BYP says hamper police accountability. ‘The police are trying to manipulate the conversation,’ Rahel Mekdim Teka, the New York City organizing chair for Black Youth 100 (BYP), said in a statement. ‘They are trying to manipulate all of us into believing that they are at risk. They are not at risk. Police officers are the threat.’”  


Black Cleveland residents tell tale of two cities in the shadow of the Republican Convention, by Alice Speri, via The Intercept

For many local residents in Cleveland, the Convention was an affront to a city struggling to provide basic services. The Intercept interviewed local activists, including Tatyana Atkinson, who “also took issue with the $50 million in federal funding the city of Cleveland received to secure the convention—echoing what several people referred to as a “tale of two cities.”

‘[They’re] putting $50 million into the city but not putting $50 million into the city,’ she said. ‘They got all this money for this fun military-grade weapons for a city that already has use-of-force issues, and they just get to keep these weapons to use them against us every day. So the Republicans came, they kept them safe, and now they hurt us every single day afterwards,’ she said. ‘Yay.’” 

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