Riverwise Podcast

The Riverwise Podcast is bringing together Detroit citizens to consider new and forms of resistance to continuing economic and political marginalization in communities of color. For over three years now, the Riverwise collective has created media that depicts local activism and the profound new work being done in Detroit neighborhoods. Through the quarterly Riverwise magazine, Riverwise community conversations, and the Riverwise Writing Workshop, we’re developing our collective voice.

The podcast format allows us even more access to grassroots organizations and individuals who are rethinking our institutions, creating self-reliant communities, and laying the path to a more equitable society. We hope you can join us as we regularly uplift these stories of personal struggle and new ideas.

The Riverwise Podcast is hosted by Amas Mesu and presented through the Detroit is Different Network

Boggs Center – Living For Change News – July 1st 2020

July 1st, 2020

revolution image final

 


Thinking for Ourselves

Facing Technology
Shea Howell

This week the debate against surveillance technology in the hands of police took a deeply human turn. The ACLU of Michigan filed a complaint against the Detroit Police Department on behalf of Robert Williams, who was wrongfully identified, arrested at his home in front of his wife and daughters, and held in police custody for 30 hours. He was accused of stealing five watches from Shinola. He was released on bail, and ultimately the County Prosecutor, Kym Worthy, offered an apology saying, ” This case should not have been issued based on the DPD investigation, and for that we apologize. Thankfully, it was dismissed on our office’s own motion. This does not in any way make up for the hours that Mr. Williams spent in jail.”

Mr. Williams’s account of the ordeal reflects his own anger and the callous treatment he received from the DPD. He also explains why he decided to pursue this case. Mr. Williams says, “ My daughters can’t unsee me being handcuffed and put into a police car. But they can see me use this experience to bring some good into the world. That means helping make sure my daughters don’t grow up in a world where their driver’s license or Facebook photos could be used to target, track or harm them.”

The story is making national and international news as it is the first documented case of facial recognition technology misidentifying a person, leading to his arrest. But those who have been fighting the use of this technology by police do not believe it is unusual. Joy Buolamwini, an MIT researcher and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League commented about the case saying, “This egregious mismatch shows just one of the dangers of facial recognition technology which has already been shown in study after study to fail people of color, people with dark skin more than white counterparts. She explained, “The threats to civil liberties posed by mass surveillance are too high a price. You cannot erase the experience of 30 hours detained, the memories of children seeing their father arrested, or the stigma of being labeled criminal.”

Along with the shoddy police work, disrespect for civil liberties, and crude behavior documented by this case is an important comment, offered by a police officer during the interrogation of Mr. Williams. The officer showed Mr. Williams pictures of a large Black man in a red cap, taken by Shinola surveillance cameras. The officer sarcastically said, “So, that’s not you?” He then said,  “So I guess the computer got it wrong, too,

This comment goes to the heart of one of the main problems with using facial recognition technology. People tend to believe the machine rather than their own eyes. Technology, we think, is infallible. By the time the police were given a name and address, based on a facial recognition match with the state data  base of drivers licenses, they had convinced themselves that they were picking up guilty man. The computer didn’t lie.

But as advocates against the use of this technology have been arguing for more than two years, computers do lie. Facial recognition technology is biased. Studies consistently show that facial recognition systems mis-identify people of color up to 100 times more often than white people.

Detroit does not need high tech surveillance. Increasingly, we are asking if we need police. The majority of the City Council and the Police Commission have consistently ignored the warnings brought to them by community advocates. It is time for the Council and Commission to act on behalf of the people, or step aside.

LISTEN: The Rebellion Against Racial Capitlalism

THE BLACK LIVES MATTER uprisings against police and state violence are continuing across the U.S., as a humiliated Donald Trump threatens a broader crackdown to defend Confederate monuments. This week on Intercepted: Robin D.G. Kelley, a distinguished history professor at UCLA, explains why he believes the current abolitionist movement has the potential to fundamentally change the country and offers a historical analysis of the weaponization of racial capitalism throughout U.S. history. He also tells the story of the Black-led Communist Party of Alabama in the aftermath of the Great Depression and the racist roots of U.S.-style policing. As Attorney General William Barr continues to preside over a Justice Department being wielded as a political and legal weapon to defend Trump, Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union explains the dangerous use of military and intelligence surveillance systems to spy on activists, the characterizations of activists as terrorists, and discusses the ongoing drone strikes overseas. MORE @ Intercepted

 

 

The National Council Of Elders joins with social justice organizers across this country working to end police killings and to end the triple evils of materialism, racism and militarism that are the foundation of the ills plaguing the United States. We are committed to developing a culture of peace.

Contact:
Dr. Gloria Aneb House, Detroit MI
Dr. G. Zoharah Simmons, Gainesville, FL
elders4belovedcommunity@gmail.com

The National Council of Elders (NCOE) Condemns Police Killing of George Floyd and Violence Against Protestors
We are members of the National Council of Elders, veterans of many of the social justice and peace movements of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. These have included the Black freedom movement, the Native Peoples, Chicano, anti-war, immigrant rights, peace, and LGBTQ movements. We were called into being by iconic civil rights leaders of the past: Rev. James Lawson, Dr. Dolores Huerta, Dr. Vincent Harding, Rev. Phil Lawson, and Dr. Grace Lee Boggs. Collectively we represent hundreds of years of social justice activism.

We are greatly alarmed by the brutal lynching of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday, May 25, 2020 (Memorial Day). The killing of yet another Black person at the hands of police has set off days of protests across the U.S. and throughout the world. These demonstrations have been overwhelmingly peaceful. However, President Donald Trump has called out the National Guard and has threatened to call members of the armed forces to “dominate” and quell the protest.

Scenes of police beating, kicking, stomping, tasing, teargassing, using horses and automobiles to run down protestors — and in some cases journalists, TV reporters and camera crews — have flooded television and social media. By showing little to no restraint, the police are exemplifying the very behavior that thousands of our citizens are risking their lives to protest against — even during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The murder of George Floyd is only one of many episodes of police brutality and excessive force that have plagued our communities for decades. Every instance of police violence against people of color recalls the history of unbroken links between the invasion and theft of native lands, brutal slavery and modern racially-biased policing.

Young activists exhort us to “Say Their Names!” These are just a few of the most recent victims of State violence: Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Sean Bell, Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones, Amadou Diallo, Mya Hall, Walter Scott, Deborah Danner, Joel Acevado, Atatiana Jones, Jamar Clark, Miriam Carey, Philando Castile, Tanisha Anderson, Ezell Ford, Charleena Lyles, John Crawford, Shukri Said, Tamir Rice, and Breonna Taylor. Unfortunately, this list of men, women and children who have been victims of police violence will continue to grow until we demand an end to this ongoing slaughter. We are grateful that this demand is being made powerfully by some of the most visible youth-led active movements of today: Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), the Movement for Black Lives, and the Dream Defenders.

We know that police killings are symptomatic of much deeper issues negatively impacting Black, Brown, indigenous and impoverished people in the U.S.: High unemployment, the cradle- to- prison pipeline, inadequate access to health care and housing, infant mortality, homelessness, food insecurity, mass incarceration, and ongoing conflict in our communities resulting from the hopelessness of the day- to- day struggles for personhood and survival. For young people of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death.

We agree with many young activists who say there is a “State of Emergency facing Black people.” We believe that the entire concept of U.S. policing, which has been heavily influenced by racism and other forms of subjugation, must be rethought. The NCOE joins with social justice organizers across this country working to end police killings and to end the triple evils of materialism, racism and militarism that are the foundation of the ills plaguing the United States. We are committed to developing a culture of peace. How do we translate this commitment into concrete actions?

We support the following proposals:

Defunding police: Using those redirected funds to finance housing, health care, good jobs, youth programs, community care workers, public transportation, parks, environmental protection, recreation centers, arts programs, playgrounds and other needed social programs.

Demilitarize police: Police forces should be required to abandon and trash all military supplies and weapons they have acquired. Experiments should be undertaken to replace armed police with neighborhood peacekeepers.

A reset of the entire criminal legal system in the U.S.: Police violence against people of color is only one facet of the deeply entrenched racial disparities within our criminal legal system.
There is an urgent need for analysis and action at every stage of this system, from arrest to sentencing to incarceration.

National Council of Elders Members: Ms. Rachele Agoyo, Ms. Dorothy Aldridge, Rev. Dorsey Blake, Mr. Louis Brandon, Ms. Candie Carawan, Ms. Mandy Carter, Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Rev. John Fife, Ms. Aljosie Aldrich Harding, Dr. Gloria Aneb House, Dr.Shea Howell, Dr. Dolores Huerta, Mr. Phil Hutchings, Ms. Joyce Hobson Johnson, Rev. Nelson Johnson, Mr. Frank Joyce, Rev. James Lawson, Rev. Phil Lawson, Dr. Catherine Meeks, Mr. Gus Newport, Ms. Suzanne Pharr, Ms. Lyn Pyle, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Ms. Frances Reid, Ms. Kathy Sanchez, Mr. Charles Sherrod, Ms. Shirley Sherrod, Dr. G. Zoharah Simmons, Friar Louis Vitale, OFM, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Mr. Hollis Watkins, Mr. Junius Williams, Mr. Bob Wing, Rev. Janet Wolf.

Deceased Founding Members: Dr. Grace Lee Boggs, Dr. Dorothy Cotton, Dr. Vincent Harding, Father Paul Mayer, Mr. Ron Scott.

Facebook contact: National Council of Elders@ncoe20century 

grace and robin

Thinking Dialectically: What Grace Lee Boggs Taught Me
Robin D.G. Kelley


Cornel

 


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Jimmy Boggs From the NY Times Op.ed,

From the NY Times Op.ed,
“To put a final point of emphasis on the potential of the moment, I’ll leave you with this. In a 1963 pamphlet called “The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook,” the activist and laborer James Boggs argued for the revolutionary potential of the black struggle for civil rights. “The strength of the Negro cause and its power to shake up the social structure of the nation,” Boggs wrote, “comes from the fact that in the Negro struggle all the questions of human rights and human relationships are posed.” That is because it is a struggle for equality “in production, in consumption, in the community, in the courts, in the schools, in the universities, in transportation, in social activity, in government, and indeed in every sphere of American life.”
 

The American Revolution: Pages from a Black Workers Notebook 

Blue cover with a black eagle silhouette and the title printed over it. Handwritten note on bottom with subtitle.
James Boggs’ 1963 book with these new introductions:
* “Thinking and Acting Dialectically” by Grace Lee Boggs
* “Nobody Knows Better than Me” by Sharon (Shea) Howell
* “The Power of Ideas” by Carl Edwards
* “We are all ‘Works in Progress'” by Larry Sparks
* “Call to Detroit Summer” by Julia Pointer-Putnam
* “‘The Outsiders’ Practicing Transformation” by Jeanette Lee
* “The Next American Revolution” by Rich FeldmanAuthor: James Boggs
Price: $12.00 (+ $4.25 shipping)

{Store}

 

Boggs Center – Living For Change News – June 23rd 2020

June 23rd, 2020

Choosing Sides
Shea Howell

Mayor Duggan and some members of the City Council are out of step with the majority of the people of Detroit. Increasingly, the Mayor and some on the Council are sounding like Donald Trump in the face of growing protests against racism and police brutality. They are accusing protestors of “terrorism” and refusing to look seriously at the issues being raised by people on the streets.

Detroit has a long history of police misconduct and failed reforms. Certainly, since the rebellion of 1967, most people in Detroit have understood that the widespread use of police power is rarely used to protect people and is always invoked to protect property and privilege. As a result, the people in the city have consistently organized to limit police power and bring public scrutiny to bear on police practices. We are among the first cities to have an elected police commission, we have a police force more reflective of the community, and organizations such as the Coalition Against Police Brutality, the National Lawyers Guild, The National Conference of Black Lawyers, Sugar Law, and the ACLU have long histories in forging public accountability of police excess.

Detroit police have been especially brutal toward those who dare to exercise their right to publicly challenge policy, police conduct or priorities. Beginning in the 1940’s Detroit police created a secret Red Squad to spy on labor organizers and protestors. Their aim was to disrupt and destroy those who challenged power and privilege. They organized spies, infiltrators and informants. In the 1960’s and 70s they worked closely with the FBI and COINTELPRO to discredit and “neutralize” activists. In 1984, after years of court battles, it was revealed that the Detroit Police, along with the State force had more than 1.5 million people in their data base.

Under Mayor Duggan we have consistently seen repressive responses to people organizing for justice.  At the very beginning of the draconian water shut off process overseen by the Mayor, artists who painted Free the Water on the abandoned Highland Park water tank were threatened with $75,000 in fines and up to 4 years in prison. Later the Homrich 9, a group of activists who blocked trucks from leaving the depot to shut off water, spent nearly 3 years in court before all charges were finally dismissed. Baxter Jones, one of the protesters, has continued to struggle against the brutal treatment he received as he and his wheelchair were shoved into the police van.

Most recently the Detroit police have been aggressively ticketing young people who gathered during the stay at home order. The first response by the police to the public protests against the killing of George Floyd was unwarranted aggression.

All of this history is why the public tribunal held this week by those engaged in protests was essential. Speakers gathered in Hart Plaza to share their experiences and put the police on notice that such aggression will not be tolerated.

The public conversation about redirecting funds and demilitarizing the police is just beginning. Defunding the police is being put in practice and ideas of abolition of police all together are spreading as people come to understand how destructive police forces are. National polls are now showing that 75% of the people agree with  “proposals to move some money currently going to police budgets into better officer training, local programs for homelessness, mental health assistance, and domestic violence,”

We are in a moment of renewed imagination and possibilities about how we can live together more responsibly. It is time for people to choose

 sides.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The Pieces I Am

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Poems, Speeches and Reflections from the Suburban Silence is Racist Violence Car Caravan Earlier This Month in Metro-Detroit.


Earl Burton

Speaking of Breonna Taylor is difficult for me

It is beyond easy to see myself in her place because we are in so many ways the same

Both young black women, both born in 1993; she has three months on me

Both with career goals to help other people; she an EMT while I pursue a degree in counseling psych

Both with loved ones, friends, hobbies, favorite songs, favorite movies, favorite jokes

Both with beautiful smiles

Both human beings

We both went to sleep that night, probably with expectations of what the next day would hold

But Breonna didn’t see the next day

She was killed at home by cops in plain clothes who illegally entered her home

Cops that are still walking free

We’re gonna to talk about the inherent stupidity of no-knock warrants, especially being served by plain clothes officers who can’t even go to the right home

We’re gonna talk about the shoot-first-ask-questions later attitude that permeates the cop culture that would’ve been wrong and dangerous even if they’d been at the right home.

We’re gonna talk about how disgusting it is that Breonna’s boyfriend Kenny Walker was initially arrested and charged with attempted murder for defending his home against strangers with guns breaking in

We’re gonna talk about reactive justice for cops and a police department that caused this tragedy
And proactive justice to prevent this from happening to anyone else

But for today, right now, I’m talking about Breonna

Breonna, who should’ve been celebrating her 27th birthday today

Breonna, who had a life and dreams that were stolen from her

Breonna, who should have had years, decades of service, exploration, discovery, laugh, hope, and all the trials and triumphs of being coming her way

Breonna, whose family and friends mourn her loss and still have not seen a modicum of justice of any kind

Breonna. Breonna. Breonna. Say her name. Breonna.

———

Eliza Webb

Peace everyone. Thank you all for being here. My name is Eliza Ann Shoolbraid Webb, I’m from Ferndale, and I’m a part of the broad & beautiful emerging coalition that organized this action. I will be the MC today.

We want to start off with a land acknowledgement. We recognize we are standing on & unjustly occupying Anishinaabe land: the Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples, and other Indigenous Nations before them.

We also would like to begin with inviting everyone to share a moment of grief for George Floyd, Aiyana Jones, Malice Green, Tony McDade, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Atatiana Jefferson, Bettie Jones, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Breonna Taylor, Emmett Till, and every other Black person who has been murdered by the United States carceral & police state.

We would like to take a moment to ground ourselves in the purpose of why we are here.

Across the suburbs, our state, our country, white folks & suburban folks are breaking our silence on hundreds of years of continuing violent murder, oppression, theft and looting of Black people & Black communities by our government & our collective complicity! We are here today to awaken and stay awake to the reality in our home of SE Michigan: of police terrorism, of violent water shut offs in Black homes when water is life, of air & water poisoned in Black communities, of the overtaxation of Black homeowners, of poverty wages, and other forms of state-sanctioned oppression that take Black lives every single day right here, right now. We will not fall back into silence or inaction!

We are here to build a joyful movement for collective liberation that will end the individualism, materialism, and hoarding that sickens many of our suburban & white communities.

We are honored to join with the hundreds of thousands of people across our country and the tens of thousands in our suburbs who are saying no to racism and and no to police terrorism and lynchings. In the language of Ibram X Kendi who wrote : “How to be an anti-racist”, He states we cannot be anti racist without being anti capitalist and we cannot be anti capitalist without being anti-racist. Our movement must fight to end racial capitalism — which is the system we live under, a system that cages, kills and oppresses Black & Brown people for profit.

We are explicitly not here to engage in performative activism. We ask participants to respect the gravity of why we are gathering.

Thank you. In a few moments we will slowly drive in a car caravan up Woodward & gather at Birmingham UU Church for a short rally to center, ground, teach and build movement together. We have powerful speakers lined up. And we invite you to take & post photos of this action online with the hashtag #breakingoursilence.

I’d like to end with some chanting together. So repeat after me.

BREAK OUR SILENCE, END OUR RACIST VIOLENCE

Thank you for being here. I am so grateful to be standing in solidarity & resistance with you. I am grateful to be building community & movement with you.

———-

Rich Feldman
When Reform Has Failed, What is Next?

There is an awakening taking place in our country.  There are rebellions, protests and uprisings in our cities and protests, demonstrations across our suburbs.   I have been active since the late 1960s when 3 million black people engaged in rebellions following the murder of MLK.  I was personally active with 4 million people after the murders of 4 students at Kent State and Jackson State.  I was in Chicago in 1968 and attended the United Front Against Fascism with the Black Panther Party in the summer of 1969.  I would say that 1960s and 1970s was a revolutionary period working to redefine the system & those years shaped my life of commitments and dreams.

1970 was 50 years ago.  Today, I am humbled and honored to again to be part of a revolutionary transformative movement of epoch proportions.  Todays challenges are greater and the skills, the vision, the analysis, the understanding , the love of a new generation has taken its place in history and are leading the call & struggle to transform ourselves and every institution.     A movement that entered a qualitative new beginning with Arab Spring, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Me Too, Global Climate Justice Strikes.  Movements that welcome people with disabilities, transgender (folks ?, another word) and a movement clearly committed to answering the questions:
What time is it on the Clock of the World?
What does it mean to be human?
What will be the values to guide relationship to each other, ourselves and our planet.

The lynchings of George Floyd,  Breanna Tylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the more than 25,000 black folks killed by Covin 19, has again pulled back the veil and peeled back the onion of a system and culture built upon death is now facing death.  The response by a generation who founded the movements and participated in these movements since 2010 is a generation of leaders.

In the introduction to Uprooting Racism and Racist by James Boggs, he challenged the Kerner Commission Report because it totally failed (on purpose) to challenge White America to Change.  It was all about “uplifting black opportunity.”  It made the rebellions, the rage a “black problem” rather than as James Baldwin always said “it is an American Problem.”  James Baldwin also was clear that America will not know its name until it knows my name.”
“Each generation, coming out of obscurity, must define its mission and fulfill or betray it.” Frantz Fanon – The Wretched of the Earth

The protests, uprising an demonstrations in our cities have been joined by rural communities, farming areas, small towns and suburbs.

As a resident of Huntington Woods, I witnessed 750 people state out loud… Huntington Woods is Racist.  Black Lives Matter.  Berkley, Mi where white citizen councils and KKK once proudly called home, now has banners proclaiming Black Lives Matter in lawn signs next to the American Flag.  We have so much to learn from the conversations taking place in homes across our country, suburban, rural and urban.

I have seen and heard tens of thousands of people across the Detroit metro suburbs and across Michigan demonstrate, stop traffic, march, pay tribute and say, “we will not be silent.”

On Sunday I had the privilege to support the organizing efforts of individuals ranging in age from 12 to 70 from across the suburbs and Detroit say: Suburban Silence is Racist Violence.  More than 500 cars participated in a caravan from 8 mile to Lone Pine.  People came from suburbs across the counties of Wayne, Macomb, Washtenaw, Oakland, Genesee.  We rallied at the UU Church on Lone Pine and Woodward to hear amazing speaking, listen to spoken word.  People came together to be challenged and the speakers made it clear that this was not a spirit but a marathon, there were simple answers or old solutions but this was time for profound support to the struggles in Detroit:  Stopping Water shut-offs and creating a Water affordability Plan, Permanent ending of foreclosures and evictions, stopping the criminalization of Detroiters thru the police budgets supporting fascial recognition and the absurd green light policies of Detroit Police.

Voices were clear that Michigan does not need a new Wayne County Jail so that white folks and middle class folks can be safe in Illichville and Gilbertville.

The event was named: Suburban Silence is Racist violence to remind all those being energized and activated that Our Silence supported the Emergency Management, the destruction of the schools.  As is so often said now:  We cannot be non-racist we can only be racist or anti-racist. If you want to be anti-racist, you also need to be anti-capitalist.  The land of Chief Pontiac was looted, Royal Oak Town Ship was annexed and destroyed with the rise of the 20th century white suburbs.  In looking at history, slavery was never separated between racism and capitalism so when will we see our history as a history of racial capitalism.

In this moment of urgency and movement, we also know that we need to create a long term vision, strategies and organizational structures for our suburbs which contributes to the safeey, security, health of Detroit and Pontiac.  Our commitment is to create a suburban coalition that has long term goals, based upon values, principles and strategies that emerge from welcoming the collapse of the “great American experiment” and the creation of a new 21 vision based upon community, compassion, inclusion, moving far beyond old ideas and concepts of socialism. What does a transformative revolutionary society look like and how do we need to change to become part of history’s future?

As MLK said:  We need a radical revolution in values as we struggle against the evil triplets of racism, materialism and militarism (if he lived today he would also be saying patriarchy, ableism and planetary destruction).
Can we simply live so others can simply live?

Can we seriously make a distinction between needs and wants?

Can we say NO to the wall of disrespect and vicious-violent between the suburbs and the city by supporting community, safety and dignity for all Detroiters?

Can we declare liberalism as dead? And welcome radical thought and move to change we can only imagine?


CBA


We Shall Not Be Moved
Collective ownership gives power back to poor farmers
By Audrea Lim for Harpers Magazine
We Shall Not


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The National Council of Elders (NCOE) Condemns Police Killing of George Floyd and Violence Against Protestors

The National Council of Elders (NCOE) Condemns
Police Killing of George Floyd and Violence Against Protestors

THE NATIONAL
Immediate Release
June 16, 2020
The NCOE joins with social justice organizers across this country
working to end police killings and to end the triple evils of
materialism, racism and militarism that are the foundation of the
ills plaguing the United States. We are committed to developing a
culture of peace.

Contact
Dr. Gloria Aneb House, Detroit MI
Dr. G. Zoharah Simmons, Gainesville, FL
E-mail: elders4belovedcommunity@gmail.com

The National Council of Elders (NCOE) Condemns
Police Killing of George Floyd and Violence Against Protestors
We are members of the National Council of Elders, veterans of many of the social justice
and peace movements of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. These have included the Black freedom
movement, the Native Peoples, Chicano, anti-war, immigrant rights, peace, and LGBTQ
movements. We were called into being by iconic civil rights leaders of the past: Rev. James
Lawson, Dr. Dolores Huerta, Dr. Vincent Harding, Rev. Phil Lawson, and Dr. Grace Lee Boggs.
Collectively we represent hundreds of years of social justice activism.
We are greatly alarmed by the brutal lynching of Mr. George Floyd in Minneapolis,
Minnesota by four Minneapolis police officers on Monday, May 25, 2020 (Memorial Day). The
killing of yet another Black person at the hands of police has set off days of protests across the
U.S. and throughout the world. These demonstrations have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

However, President Donald Trump has called out the National Guard and has threatened to call
members of the armed forces to “dominate” and quell the protest.
Scenes of police beating, kicking, stomping, tasing, teargassing, using horses and
automobiles to run down protestors — and in some cases journalists, TV reporters and camera
crews — have flooded television and social media. By showing little to no restraint, the police are
exemplifying the very behavior that thousands of our citizens are risking their lives to protest
against — even during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The murder of George Floyd is only one of many episodes of police brutality and excessive
force that have plagued our communities for decades. Every instance of police violence against
people of color recalls the history of unbroken links between the invasion and theft of native lands,
brutal slavery and modern racially-biased policing.

Young activists exhort us to “Say Their Names!” These are just a few of the most recent
victims of State violence: Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Sean Bell,
Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones, Amadou Diallo, Mya Hall, Walter Scott, Deborah Danner, Joel
Acevado, Atatiana Jones, Jamar Clark, Miriam Carey, Philando Castile, Tanisha Anderson, Ezell
Ford, Charleena Lyles, John Crawford, Shukri Said, Tamir Rice, and Breonna Taylor.
Unfortunately, this list of men, women and children who have been victims of police violence will
continue to grow until we demand an end to this ongoing slaughter. We are grateful that this
demand is being made powerfully by some of the most visible youth-led active movements of
today: Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), the Movement for Black Lives, and
the Dream Defenders.

We know that police killings are symptomatic of much deeper issues negatively impacting
Black, Brown, indigenous and impoverished people in the U.S.: High unemployment, the cradle to  prison pipeline, inadequate access to health care and housing, infant mortality, homelessness, food insecurity, mass incarceration, and ongoing conflict in our communities resulting from the
hopelessness of the day- to- day struggles for personhood and survival. For young people of color,
police use of force is among the leading causes of death.

We agree with many young activists who say there is a “State of Emergency facing Black
people.” We believe that the entire concept of U.S. policing, which has been heavily influenced
by racism and other forms of subjugation, must be rethought. The NCOE joins with social justice
organizers across this country working to end police killings and to end the triple evils of
materialism, racism and militarism that are the foundation of the ills plaguing the United States.

We are committed to developing a culture of peace. How do we translate this commitment into
concrete actions? We support the following proposals:
Defunding police: Using those redirected funds to finance housing, health care, good jobs,
youth programs, community care workers, public transportation, parks, environmental protection,
recreation centers, arts programs, playgrounds and other needed social programs.
Demilitarize police: Police forces should be required to abandon and trash all military
supplies and weapons they have acquired. Experiments should be undertaken to replace armed
police with neighborhood peacekeepers.
A reset of the entire criminal legal system in the U.S.: Police violence against people of
color is only one facet of the deeply entrenched racial disparities within our criminal legal system.
There is an urgent need for analysis and action at every stage of this system, from arrest to
sentencing to incarceration.

National Council of Elders Members: Ms. Rachele Agoyo, Ms. Dorothy Aldridge, Rev. Dorsey
Blake, Mr. Louis Brandon, Ms. Candie Carawan, Ms. Mandy Carter, Dr. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,
Rev. John Fife, Ms. Aljosie Aldrich Harding, Dr. Gloria Aneb House, Dr.Shea Howell, Dr.
Dolores Huerta, Mr. Phil Hutchings, Ms. Joyce Hobson Johnson, Rev. Nelson Johnson, Mr. Frank
Joyce, Rev. James Lawson, Rev. Phil Lawson, Dr. Catherine Meeks, Mr. Gus Newport, Ms.
Suzanne Pharr, Ms. Lyn Pyle, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Ms. Frances Reid, Ms. Kathy Sanchez,
Mr. Charles Sherrod, Ms. Shirley Sherrod, Dr. G. Zoharah Simmons, Friar Louis Vitale, OFM,
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Mr. Hollis Watkins, Mr. Junius Williams, Mr. Bob Wing, Rev. Janet Wolf.
Deceased Founding Members: Dr. Grace Lee Boggs, Dr. Dorothy Cotton, Dr. Vincent Harding,
Father Paul Mayer, Mr. Ron Scott.

Facebook contact: National Council of Elders@ncoe20century