Southern Movement Assembly Position on the Moment
& Governance Council Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives
We find ourselves in a moment when people are rising up across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S., and more than 25% of those deaths were Black people. When put side by side with the Black COVID deaths in the U.S., the recent murder of Geroge Floyd acts as a bloody marker on a continuum of genocide, dehumanization, and anti-Blackness.
What we know as Southerners. There is a long history of resistance against the attempted genocide of Black People here in the U.S. South. This genocide takes the form of systematic racism that creates the conditions for mass death and suffering. This genocide takes the form of ideological racism where people, in their heart, believe in and justify Black disposability. This genocide takes the form of racial capitalism, where profit is prioritized over the innate rights of Black people – particularly the prison industrial complex, among other forms of systemic oppression. This genocide takes the form of racist vigilantes and militias, working in direct or indirect coordination with governments and law enforcement that terrorize our communities in the name of “protecting the American Way.” This genocide also takes the form of racist police brutalizing and gunning down Black people. And then brutalizing those who protest for justice in the aftermath. What we are seeing, feeling, and fighting against today is a continuation and escalation of conditions Black people have been up against for 400 years. What we are seeing today is a continuation of history and our legacy of resistance to injustice.
Protect & Defend Our Communities: #Black Lives Matter. In this moment, we are called to Protect and Defend our communities from police and vigilante violence. We stand with the Movement for Black Lives in the call to demilitarize and defund the police. We stand united with George Floyd’s family in calling for immediate accountability and consequences that fit the crime committed. And we demand justice for Breonna Taylor (Kentucky),Tony McDade(Florida), Yassin Mohomad (Georgia) and the 14-year-old unarmed Black boy in Louisiana shot in the head by an off-duty police officer. We recognize that the current economic and political order requires violence to maintain the status quo. To protect and defend Black lives, we organize public health, mutual aid, harm free zones, and sanctuary spaces. #BlackLivesMatter.
Build a New Social Economy: People & Planet Before Profits. We are experiencing the impact of corporate greed, government incompetence, and prioritization of profits and social supremacy over people. The privatization of healthcare, the militarization of police forces, the destruction of our environment and global climate are all rooted in profit-driven consumption and greed that weaken our society. We demand a divestment of funding from policing, militarization, and fossil fuel extraction and to reinvest those dollars toward developing safety plans for each state to address and mitigate the COVID-19 health crisis, including providing PPE for workers; establishing realtime COVID-19 data disaggregated by county and race; increasing community-led public health testing, tracing, and treatment of COVID-19, with specific support to communities that are most affected with the least access; expanding Medicaid in every state; and increasing unemployment support for residents who have lost jobs or cannot work.
Advance a People’s Democracy: Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free. In the Southern Movement Assembly, we are bound by a shared set of principles and practices rooted in the knowledge that we are stronger together and, in the words of Mississippi freedom fighter Fannie Lou Hamer, that nobody is free until everybody is free. Recent incitement by the Trump Administration, using the imagery and rhetoric of a segregated and bloody South, threatens our democracy. The crises we face today come from a failure of government to protect the health, well-being, and lives of people. We must resist an election crisis that fractures our democracy and creates a fatally divided country subject to authoritarian rule. This moment comes amid the erosion of one of the greatest movement victories of the 20th century – the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Trump Administration’s efforts to prevent voting by mail and to cast doubt on the authenticity of the election foreshadows organized voter suppression. Without the right of every person to vote and for that vote to be counted, we have no democracy. For the survival and growth of democracy, we demand the right to vote by mail and we demand that every person be contacted and counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.
#SouthernSpring2020: Take Action with the Southern Movement Assembly. We are calling for our communities in the U.S. South to connect with the SMA Southern Spring in three ways: throughout the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) Week of Action (6/1-7), on Juneteenth (6/19), and on World Refugee Day (6/20) to connect the multiple struggles we face today to the increasing genocide we face in the midst of a pandemic and the onslaught of violent killings by the State.
Join the Southern Movement Assembly to join the long-haul fight for our liberation. Join here to receive regular updates and opportunities for organizing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
IMMEDIATE ACTION STEPS:
- JUNE 1-7: SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT FOR BLACK LIVES WEEK OF ACTION: Participate in the M4BL week of action in defense of Black lives. Details & Demands Here
- JUNE 19: ORGANIZE JUNETEENTH ACTION FOR RACIAL JUSTICE: Join the Southern Spring weekly call on Fridays to receive more information for education and action you can take. Register for the Action Planning Calls Here
- JUNE 20: STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH IMMIGRANTS & REFUGEES: Submit a statement of solidarity with World Refugee Day that connects your struggle with the struggle of immigrants and refugees across the globe. Submit your Statement Here