Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye

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Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye

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 CenterRuth Jeannoel, Power U Center for Social Change ● Rachel Gilmer, Dream DefendersChelsea Fuller, Advancement ProjectMarbre Stahly-Butts, Center for Popular DemocracyRachel Herzing Soros Justice Fellow ● Mary Hooks, Southerners On New GroundMark-Anthony Johnson, Dignity and Power NowTanya Greene, Attorney at Law ● Daryl Atkinson, Southern Coalition for Social JusticeAndrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow ● Arielle Humphries, Center for Popular DemocracyCarl Lipscombe, Black Alliance for Just ImmigrationCrystal Peters, Center for Popular DemocracyChinyere Tutashinda, The Center for Media JusticeMalkia Cyril, The Center for Media JusticePete Haviland-Eduah, Million Hoodies Movement For JusticeKesi Foster, Urban Youth CollaborativeMontague Simmons, Organization for Black StruggleDeAngelo Bester, Workers Center for Racial JusticeDorian Warren, Center for Community ChangeDara Cooper, National Black Food and Justice AllianceBrandon King, Cooperation JacksonLinda TiganiAnja Rudiger, National Economic and Social Rights InitiativeCathy Albisa, National Economic and Social Rights InitiativeKarl Kumodzi, Black Youth Project 100, BlackbirdSteven Pitts, National Black Workers CenterRichard Wallace, Workers Center for Racial JusticeBenjamin Ndugga-Kabuye, Black Alliance for Just ImmigrationErica Smiley, Jobs with JusticePatrick Mason, Ph.D., Florida State University, National Economic and Social Rights InitiativeBeatriz Beckford, National Black Food and Justice AllianceRose Brewer, PhD, University of Minnesota ● Ife KilimanjaroToussaint Losier, Chicago Anti ­Eviction CampaignMya Hunter, Spirit HouseM. Adams, Freedom, Inc.Jonathan Stith, Alliance for Educational JusticeLumumba BandeleEmmanuel Caicedo, DemosViviana Bernal, DemosDamon L. Daniels, DemosTrupania Bonner, Open Democracy Project/Crescent City Media Group[1]

Left Forum 2015

Multi-Racial Coalitions for Prison Divestment: Confronting Mass Incarceration and Detentions and Building Black and Brown Unity


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.

She stressed the platform was written “for and by black people … to build connections between the Movement for Black Lives in the U.S. to movements for liberation around the world.”[2]