This week, AFSC announced that it has endorsed the policy platform put forward by the Movement for Black Lives. This powerful platform puts forward a bold vision for racial, economic, and social justice. It is essential reading for anyone interested in these issues, and can be downloaded in booklet form.
In addition to reading the platform itself, this week we’ve compiled a few additional reading suggestion that expand on some of the platform’s main points. This list is far from exhaustive, just a few readings to get you started. Have suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments below.
What Does Black Lives Matter Want? By Robin D.G. Kelley via Boston Review
"To see how 'A Vision for Black Lives' is also a vision for the country as a whole requires imagination. But it also requires seeing black people as fully human, as producers of wealth, sources of intellect, and as victims of crimes—whether the theft of our bodies, our labor, our children, our income, our security, or our psychological well-being. If we had the capacity to see structural racism and its consequences not as a Black problem but as an American problem we have faced since colonial times, we may finally begin to hear what the Black Lives Matter movement has been saying all along: when all Black lives are valued and the structures and practices that do harm to Black communities are eliminated, we will change our country and possibly the world."
The Case for Reparations, by Ta-Nehisi Coates via The Atlantic
"What I'm talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal. Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling 'patriotism' while waving a Confederate flag. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history."
Black Lives Matter Is Showing Why Progressive Jews Must Support Palestinian Justice, by Kate Aronoff via In These Times
"'It became clear then that what was happening in Ferguson was deeply connected to what was happening to people around the world,” she told In These Times via email. "And while our struggles are not exactly the same, it became clear that we are fighting against the same systems.' Since that time, the group has led two delegations of activists of color to Palestine, and intends to send more. As a member of a delegation that travelled there earlier this summer, Gilmer says that she was ‘ashamed to know that our taxpayer dollars are funding illegal demolitions of Palestinian homes, an apartheid wall that has literally ripped communities apart and an incarceration system that holds children and adults indefinitely without charge.'"
Michelle Alexander Has Something to Say About Recent Cases of Police Brutality and We Should All Listen, by Shaundra Selvaggi via Atlanta Black Star
"I no longer believe that we can 'fix' the police, as though the police are anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the true nature of our democracy. We cannot 'fix' the police without a revolution of values and radical change to the basic structure of our society. Of course important policy changes can and should be made to improve police practices. But if we’re serious about having peace officers — rather than a domestic military at war with its own people — we’re going to have to get honest with ourselves about who our democracy actually serves and protects."
Looking for more? Two excellent books that look at the Black Lives Matter movement and the historical context form which it emerged are From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion by Jamala Rogers.
"What We’re Reading" is a weekly feature on AFSC’s News and Commentary blog, where we share a curated collection of recent articles on timely issues. "What We're Reading" is meant to spark discussion, debate, and knowledge sharing, and the articles we highlight do not necessarily reflect the official organizational positions of AFSC. We encourage you to tell us what you're reading on these issues in the comments below.