A Vision for Black Lives
An Immediate End to the Criminalization and Dehumanization of Black Youth Across All Areas of Society Including, but Not Limited to, Our Nation’s Justice and Education Systems, Social Service Agencies, Media, and Pop Culture.
Authors & Contributors of this 2017 report included ● Whitney Maxey, Miami Public School Teacher ● Kwame Torian Easterling, MD, MPH ● Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, University of California, San Francisco ● JoHanna Thompson, MPA ● Nimaako Brown, MPH, CHES ● Thena Robinson Mock, Education Law Center ● Ruth Jeannoel, Power U Center for Social Change ● Rachel Gilmer, Dream Defenders ● Chelsea Fuller, Advancement Project ● Marbre Stahly-Butts, Center for Popular Democracy ● Rachel Herzing Soros Justice Fellow ● Mary Hooks, Southerners On New Ground ● Mark-Anthony Johnson, Dignity and Power Now ● Tanya Greene, Attorney at Law ● Daryl Atkinson, Southern Coalition for Social Justice ● Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow ● Arielle Humphries, Center for Popular Democracy ● Carl Lipscombe, Black Alliance for Just Immigration ● Crystal Peters, Center for Popular Democracy ● Chinyere Tutashinda, The Center for Media Justice ● Malkia Cyril, The Center for Media Justice ● Pete Haviland-Eduah, Million Hoodies Movement For Justice ● Kesi Foster, Urban Youth Collaborative ● Montague Simmons, Organization for Black Struggle ● DeAngelo Bester, Workers Center for Racial Justice ● Dorian Warren, Center for Community Change ● Dara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice Alliance ● Brandon King, Cooperation Jackson ● Linda Tigani ● Anja Rudiger, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative ● Cathy Albisa, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative ● Karl Kumodzi, Black Youth Project 100, Blackbird ● Steven Pitts, National Black Workers Center ● Richard Wallace, Workers Center for Racial Justice ● Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye, Black Alliance for Just Immigration ● Erica Smiley, Jobs with Justice ● Patrick Mason, Ph.D., Florida State University, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative ● Beatriz Beckford, National Black Food and Justice Alliance ● Rose Brewer, PhD, University of Minnesota ● Ife Kilimanjaro ● Toussaint Losier, Chicago Anti Eviction Campaign ● Mya Hunter, Spirit House ● M. Adams, Freedom, Inc. ● Jonathan Stith, Alliance for Educational Justice ● Lumumba Bandele ● Emmanuel Caicedo, Demos ● Viviana Bernal, Demos ● Damon L. Daniels, Demos ● Trupania Bonner, Open Democracy Project/Crescent City Media Group
Left Forum 2015
Multi-Racial Coalitions for Prison Divestment: Confronting Mass Incarceration and Detentions and Building Black and Brown Unity
- Daniel Carrillo, Chair Enlace
- Ian Trupin Responsible Endowments Coalition
- Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye Black Alliance for Just Immigration
- Cindy Martinez Families For Freedom
Amid the nearly 40,000 words that make up the recent manifesto issued by a large coalition affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, two have raised an outcry among mainstream Jewish organizations and leaders.
Those two words, in a brief section about Israel, are “apartheid” and “genocide.”
The August 1 2016 manifesto, penned by a coalition of some 60 grassroots organizations known as the Movement for Black Lives, is largely focused on the group’s ideas for achieving racial justice for African Americans in the United States, not on Israel.
There are sections calling for, among other things, free college educations and economic reparations for black people, and a long section, too, decrying U.S. policies toward a lengthy list of countries and peoples, from Libya, to Somalia, to Haiti and the Garifuna people of Central America, among others.
But in the Jewish world, responses to descriptions of Israel in the foreign policy section held sway. And reaction was intense, following a period in which several mainstream organizations have supported the movement to varying degrees and many young activists have rallied to Black Lives Matter protests sparked by shocking videos of black men shot or abused by police.
The Reform movement’s Religious Action Center and the Anti-Defamation League were among the groups that criticized the reference to Israel as “an apartheid state with over 50 laws on the books that sanction discrimination against the Palestinian people.” Even more vehemently, these Jewish groups condemned the coalition’s charge of U.S. complicity, via America’s large sums of aid to Israel, “in the genocide taking place against the Palestinian people.”
Some smaller Jewish groups on the left end of the political spectrum accepted or defended this language.
But few knew that it was a woman with a Jewish background who co-wrote the very section that provoked them.
Rachel Gilmer, a 28-year-old African American who was raised Jewish, has long been involved in black-Palestinian solidarity work. Gilmer is associated with the activist group Dream Defenders, which has been on the forefront of recent black-Palestinian solidarity efforts, such as bringing high-profile delegations of African-American activists to Israel and the West Bank.
Born to an African-American father and a white Jewish mother, Gilmer was raised as a Jew and participated as a teen in Young Judaea, the Zionist youth group. There, she rose to become a leading member of her local group. But Gilmer later distanced herself from organized religion.
Gilmer, was one author of the lengthy platform issued by the Movement for Black Lives.
In May, Gilmer traveled to Israel and the West Bank and was moved by what she saw. “While our struggles are not identical, it became so clear that we are up against the same system of state violence and repression,” she said. “We must call for the divestment of the military industrial complex, just like we are calling for a divestment from the policing of our neighborhoods.”
Gilmer is far from the only person responsible for the Movement for Black Lives platform. The manifesto was the result of a year of meetings, debates and conference calls among black-led organizations. Hundreds of individuals were involved. And she shared writing duties on the Israel section with another activist, Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye, from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.