More than 50 black activist organizations across the country have given their support to a new set of demands, policy recommendations, and solutions put forth by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), the grassroots collective behind the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
The agenda, called “A Vision For Black Lives: Policy Demands For Black Power, Freedom, and Justice,” extends beyond the repeated calls for an end to police brutality and racial profiling. There are also demands to reduce incarceration for minor drug or sex-work violations, to prevent mass deportations, to extend civil rights to trans people, and to provide reparations to the descendants of African-American slaves.
“Our grievances and solutions extend beyond the police killing of our people,” said Montague Simmons, an organizer for the M4BL Policy Table and the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle. “State violence includes failing schools that criminalize our children, dwindling earning opportunities, wars on our trans and queer family that deny them of their humanity, and so much more. That’s why we united, with a renewed energy and purpose, to put forth a shared vision of the world we want to live in.”
The Black Lives Matter movement has been criticized in the past for focusing too narrowly on the 780,000 police officers in the U.S. and lacking a clear set of outcomes. The new policy document aims to both unify efforts across scattered organizations and to enact initiatives that could effect real change.
“We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform,” said Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for M4BL partner organization Baltimore Bloc. “As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of Black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable.”
The policy includes not only demands, but suggested courses of action for leaders at the local, state, and federal level. Individuals can also find supportive resources and suggestions for action at the organization’s website.