The outburst of opposition to building the North Precinct “Police Bunker” was more than a protest against an overly expensive municipal construction project. It was more, even, than a protest against police abuse of racial minorities in Seattle.
The #BlockTheBunker campaign is a local expression of a national agenda that aims to deliver power to Black people and communities, and to remedy deep social grievances with origins stretching back centuries. The agenda was codified in 2015, when a national collective of more than 50 organizations called “The Movement for Black Lives” came together in Cleveland, Ohio. In the year since that convening, the group’s “Policy Table” has created a “platform” called A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, and Justice, which was released nationally on Monday, August 1, 2016.
This platform encompasses more than 30 distinct policies, each of which is delivered with: a statement of the problem, a policy solution, targets for action at the Federal, State, and local levels, examples of model legislation, links to resources, and a list of organizations currently working on the policy.
This is a massive work of incredible depth and value. It speaks directly to the needs and aspirations of Black people, but it also lays out a vision of a society that is humane and just for all people. It is bracingly specific as well as visionary. All progressives should give it rigorous attention!
Here, we offer the six main categories by which the policies are classified. To see the platform and supporting materials, visit the web site of the Movement for Black Lives.
A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom, and Justice
End the war on Black people
We demand an end to the war against Black people. Since this country’s inception there have been named and unnamed wars on our communities. We demand an end to the criminalization, incarceration, and killing of our people.
We demand reparations for past and continuing harms. The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people – from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance – must repair the harm done.
We demand investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people. We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations.
We demand economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.
We demand a world where those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us – from our schools to our local budgets, economies, police departments, and our land – while recognizing that the rights and histories of our Indigenous family must also be respected.
We demand independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society. We envision a remaking of the current U.S. political system in order to create a real democracy where Black people and all marginalized people can effectively exercise full political power.