USU ENDORSES BLACK LIVES MATTER
It is the official position of the Urban Survivors Union to support and endorse Black Lives Matter.
What is Black Lives Matter?
According to the official national website of Black Lives Matter:
“When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity.
#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.”
At USU, we know one of the most important systematic roles that harms the black community is the penal system and the baseless, ill considered and hopelessly biased Drug War that is a major factor in the millions of black live imperiled in the prison systems of the United States – a country with 5% of the world’s population and a entirely disproportionate quarter of the world’s prisoners, with an equally disproportionate amount of African Americans jailed.
BLM has among their Guiding Principles, that we support and share (all quotes taken directly from BLM):
Restorative Justice: We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
Diversity: We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.
Collective Value: We are guided by the fact all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location.
Empathy: We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
Loving Engagement: We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.
We are committed to all of those values within our own community and outside of it. We are also committed to centering oppressed voices of all sorts within our walls and in our works.
The War on Drugs targeting of Black lives in ‘War on Crack’
Americas War on Crack Cocaine mirrors much of the racist drug war rhetoric of the past. Federal crack offenders were sentenced to far more prison time than white powder cocaine offenders. We know that these arrests are not true to the number of people who use the drugs. People of color are disproportionately targeted in traffic stop and stop-and-frisks even though whites are more likely to be using and carrying drugs.
As much as we need to end the dangerous War on Drugs, curbing it’s racist and structural targeting of Black lives should be at a priority within those reforms.