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From Past President, Margaret Penny Mason: Here Is How You Can Act for Black Lives

Thursday, June 18, 2020  
Posted by: Cindy Martin
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InProgress: A Weekly reCAP

Protest sign saying,'End Systemic Racism'

Here's How You Can Act for Black Lives

This week, we want to share a variety of resources to educate yourself and others on the problem of systemic racism in the United States, which continues to exclude people of color—especially Black people—from full participation in American economic, social, and civic systems.

Our partner organization Generation Progress has also put together a collection of action tools to demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as well as resources on anti-racism and how to demonstrate to people in power that we are paying attention and will not stay silent.Take Action now »

Listen and Learn.

Police brutality, voter disenfranchisement, barriers to health care, occupational segregation, housing discrimination, environmental racism, and mass incarceration are all known products of structural racism. These systemic problems are not new. Black Americans have fought against them for more than 400 years. But far too often, other Americans have turned a blind eye. Ending structural racism requires all Americans to stand up, speak out, and fight back.

For those of us who have spent our entire lives on the sidelines of the fight for racial justice and equality, it is past time to enter on the side of the righteous. We must start today, and this process starts with listening and learning about what needs to change, what being an ally means, and how to support the Black community in this fight.

Start here:'Get your knee off our necks': Al Sharpton delivers eulogy at George Floyd memorial,The Guardian

Brittany Packnett, Don Cheadle, Nikole Hannah Jones, and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on NBC's 'Can You Hear Us Now'


NBC News: Can you hear us now?

A conversation about race, injustice, and moving forward with Brittany Packnett Cunningham, Don Cheadle, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and Lt. Gov Mandela Barnes (D-WI).
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Watch the full segment here.

More resources:

  • Educate Yourself on Anti-Racism,Generation Progress
    Everyone should always want to be better, and one way to strengthen your commitment to anti-racism is through education.
  • White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo
    A thorough explanation of the dynamics of white fragility.
  • CNN/Sesame Street Racism Town Hall
    Watch as CNN's Van Jones and Erica Hill partner with "Sesame Street" for "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism," a town hall for kids and families.

Ending Systematic Racism and Inequality

What some Americans are just opening their eyes to is not new. Structural racism did not begin this week, this decade, or the past century. The history of slavery in the United States gave birth to rotting roots that have spread into the present day. Here is what needs to be done to make amends for 400 years of devaluing Black lives, work, and property.

What Truth and Reconciliation Looks Like

In order to address centuries of collective harm to African Americans, the United States must acknowledge the impacts of slavery and make an intentional choice to rebuild itself in an equitable manner.
[More from CAP on systematic inequality]

Addressing Systematic Inequality

Most policy interventions, even those that are seemingly large or ambitious, are insufficient to close the racial wealth gap. This simulation developed by CAP demonstrates how discrete proposals, implemented in combination or in isolation, would reduce the racial wealth gap over the next four decades.

More resources:

  • The 1619 Project,The New York Times
    An ongoing project to re-examine the legacy of slavery in the United States, launched on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia.
  • A Video Primer on Targeted Universalism, Othering and Belonging Institute
    This video explains the difference between targeted universalism and more traditional policy approaches to closing the black-white wealth gap.
  • Being African American & LGBTQ: An Introduction, Human Rights Campaign
    An introduction into the experience of LGBTQ African Americans, who live at the intersections of racism, homophobia and transphobia and face a number of critical issues.

Ending Police Brutality and Ushering in Meaningful Criminal Justice Reform

Today, Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Justice in Policing Act, one of many important steps toward long-term structural change that the United States needs.

The Justice in Policing Act Is an Important Step Toward Long-Term Structural Change, Statement by CAP President Neera Tanden

The Intersection of Policing and Race

In order to bridge the divide and build trust between communities of color and law enforcement, we must institute a special prosecutor policy and create community police review boards, expand law enforcement training and community-centered responses, institute statewide use-of-force guidelines, mandate data collection, and invest in officer and community wellness.

Expanding the Authority of State Attorneys General to Combat Police Misconduct

The time is now for states to usher in a new era of policing. They should empower state attorneys general to investigate, litigate, and resolve the pattern or practice of police misconduct and begin the hard work of rebuilding trust.

More resources:

  • Fatal Force,The Washington Post
    This database contains records of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer since January 1, 2015.
  • Reforming Policing, ACLU
    A wealth of resources on excessive force in policing, police corruption, asset forfeiture abuse, police militarization, and search and seizure.
  • What is Police Violence?, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, American Association of People With Disabilities, and Green Mountain Self Advocates
    A plain language booklet about anti-Black racism, police violence, and what you can do to stop it.


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