Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter Store

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Your DGB for this weekend is to check out the recently-launched official Black Lives Matter product store.

Although BLM merchandise has existed for years, none were officially-licensed or directly benefited the movement. Shop here:

https://blacklivesmatter.shop.capthat.com/store/

And don’t forget to attend a local event as well.

Rest in Power, Botham Shem Jean

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Your DGB for today is to support the movement and the activists who seek to end police violence against Black and brown folks. While the MAGA crowd was making fools of themselves by burning their own damned shoes to protest Nike, Colin Kaepernick, and human decency, yet another Black man was shot by a police officer for... *checks notes*... sitting in his own apartment. Botham Shem Jean was in his home when off-duty cop Amber Guyger either walked in or forced her way in (the story is ever-changing) and shot Jean once, killing him. And then she was allowed by the Dallas PD to leave the scene of the crime. It took three days to arrest her. None of this is right.

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, representing the Jean family, said, “I have to believe based on experience that her decision to use deadly force in the way that she did was influenced by the fact that she was standing in front of a black male and that our society has allowed law enforcement to use deadly force in unnecessary situations against black men with impunity.”

Here are some things you can do to support the movements aimed squarely at the systems that allows these killings to go on and fails to hold police properly accountable:

Support the Black Lives Matter organization:

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

Or  https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/6-ways-white-folks-can-support-the-black-lives-matter-even-if-you-cant-leave-your-house/

Check out Campaign Zero, which aims to end police violence:

https://www.joincampaignzero.org/

Get informed and involved with MappingPoliceViolence.org  

Become a part of an organization working to end the injustices that hold Black people back: https://colorofchange.org/

If you’re white, see these resources:

https://blog.fracturedatlas.org/resources-for-white-people-to-learn-and-talk-about-race-and-racism-5b207fff4fc7

It’s no longer (if it was EVER) ok to simply be non-racist and non-white supremacist. We have to be actively fighting racism and white supremacy. Make Botham Shem Jean’s death mean something - make a real difference.

On the Other Side Of Freedom: The Case For Hope

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Your DGB for today is to pick up DeRay Mckesson’s new book, which came out yesterday.

If you aren’t already familiar with Mckesson, you should be following him on Twitter @deray

A prominent Baltimore Black Lives Matter activist and host of Pod Save The People, DeRay talks about his debut book here:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bs-fe-author-mckesson-20180830-story.html

In times like these, we can all benefit from being told there’s a case for hope.

https://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Freedom-Case-Hope/dp/0525560327

 

Watch A Jay-Z Production

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Your DGB for today is to watch a documentary series produced by Shawn Carter (also known as Jay-Z or Mr. Beyonce Knowles.)

Perhaps you already know about the ways in which the Carters have helped move the Black Lives Matter movement forward or maybe you don’t know that they’ve done so quietly, monetarily, so as not to hijack the cause with their celebrity. This article explains some of that well:

https://cassiuslife.com/48866/jay-z-supports-black-lives-matter/

In 2017, Jay, along with the Weinstein Company (no longer affiliated with sex monster Harvey), also produced Time: The Kalief Browder Story. The six part series follows the heart-wrenching tale of Browder’s institutionalization at Rikers Island.

https://www.netflix.com/title/80187052

On July 30th, Jay again turned his dollars into visibility through a new series called Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story airing on BET.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90210836/how-to-watch-the-trayvon-martin-story-online-without-cable

DGB recommends you watch both. You will feel like your lungs have filled with cement, but don’t look away. This is our country and we don’t have the luxury of sparing ourselves.

 

Nia Wilson

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Your DGB for today is to read about Nia Wilson and #SayHerName.

On July 22, Nia Wilson and her sister, Lahtifa (Black women) were switching trains at a BART station in Northern California when a white man walked up to them and stabbed Nia, killing her. Although police eventually caught the suspect, who ran from the scene, it took them a whole day, sparking protests over the way Black victims are treated.

You see, when a Black person is murdered, the killer is less likely to be caught. A recent study found that, when a white person is murdered, police make an arrest about 63% of the time, compared with only 47% when the victim is Black. There is also extensive victim-blaming when a person of color is killed. Michael Brown was “no angel”, for example. In this instance, a picture of Nia Wilson holding a gun-shaped phone case was circulated.

Somehow, some way, we need to reject the idea that Black lives lost are less tragic. Read this Vox article about the phenomenon of distrust between law enforcement and communities of color and get Wilson’s story out using #SayHerName on social media.

https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/7/25/17613382/nia-wilson-murder-john-lee-cowell-bart

 

National Bail Out

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Your DGB for today is to donate to or volunteer with National Bail Out.

https://nomoremoneybail.org/

You may have noticed a recent surge of publicized incidents involving Black people having the police called on them for doing everyday activities. When you are Black, you could be arrested for doing something like going to Starbucks or even for trying to enter your own gated community like rapper T.I. was yesterday.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/16/entertainment/ti-arrested/index.html

Even people engaging in non-violent illegal activities like smoking marijuana are much more likely to be arrested if they’re Black.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/13/nyregion/marijuana-arrests-nyc-race.html

And for those people who don’t have stacks on deck and Patron on ice, bail money can stand between us and our families, livelihoods, and sometimes even lives. Sandra Bland was unable to post $500 towards bail and died after three days in jail in 2015.

https://www.thenation.com/article/what-happened-to-sandra-bland/

Read more about the impact of the bail system on marginalized communities here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-dangerous-domino-effect-of-not-making-bail/477906/

Then go and help National Bail Out get people back to their lives while ultimately working to end the cash bail system.

 

White Privilege and Standing Up

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Your DGB for today is to familiarize yourself with strategies to de-escalate racist harassment and assault, especially if you have white privilege and can use it to help Black and brown folk.

Last week two Black men were arrested for hanging out at Starbucks. And a Black teenager was shot at for ringing a white person’s doorbell to ask for directions. As if we need more reminders, it is clearly not safe to be Black in this society. And PoC need more than non-racist allies, they need ANTI-racist allies willing to use their white privilege to help on the front lines. In the video taken of the Starbucks incident, you can see white people attempting to intervene with the police on behalf of the two Black men. This is a great use of their white privilege. It didn’t have the desired result in this case, but maybe if they’d had a little more information and training, it would have. Maybe someone could have convinced the Starbucks employee not to engage in racial profiling and call the cops in the first place. So check out the resources to which we’ve linked, and learn how to stand up to racism, rather than just being a bystander.

And one more thing: given the way that Black people’s lives are put at risk in encounters with the police, please think twice before calling the cops on a Black person.

 

Million Hoodies Movement for Justice

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Your DGB for today is to support Million Hoodies.

As wonderful as it has been to have our country listen to the students of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, Black and Brown kids just like them have been screaming about their communities being gunned down and we need to remember their voices.

Hoodies dates back to 2012, when Black teenager Trayvon Martin was murdered because he “looked suspicious.” It’s a social justice movement for youth of color, and we don’t want to infiltrate, dictate, or affect their mission with our lame adulthood or whiteness. We simply want you to donate, shop their store, and text “SUPPORTER” to 508 928 8555.

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You can also contribute by rounding up your change from credit card transactions here: https://www.mychange.com/organizations/404-million-hoodies

Of course, if you are a young person of color, please get more directly involved and see if Million Hoodies has a good local fit for you.

 

 

#NeverAgain and #BlackLivesMatter

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Your DGB for today is to read this article in Teen Vogue and take the message to heart.

All of us here at DGB are mothers of school-age kids. Events like Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland keep us up at night, contemplating bulletproof backpacks, homeschooling, and/or moving to Australia. We’ve been so impressed by the student-led #NeverAgain movement. Anything that gives the NRA heartburn and panic attacks pleases us greatly.

But it’s also true that Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, et al are not the first kids to protest gun violence. Black teens have been working their butts off on this issue as part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which should come as no surprise when Black teenagers have been paying for white supremacy and gun culture with their dead bodies. Their contributions didn’t light a fire in the public consciousness like the work of the Parkland kids, and it should have.

As we go forward in this moment where there seems to be a spark of hope that change may come, let’s not forget who we have to thank, listen to, and partner with. Any conversation about gun violence must wrestle with issues of racism and policing, in addition to mental illness, the gun lobby, etc.

We have hope for the future, because all these kids are the fierce leaders we need. We just wish it hadn’t come at such a high price to them.

 

On Fridays, We Take a Knee

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Your DGB for today is to plan to participate in the Twitter protest of the treatment of Black americans by taking a knee at 1:00 pm EST tomorrow, the 29th.

After Trump’s comments calling for NFL owners to fire anyone that takes a knee for the National Anthem, more than 100 NFL players, coaches, and owners took a knee on Sunday and Monday. We applaud the NFL players for taking a stand against the rhetoric of Donald Trump.

The focus for Friday’s protest isn’t about Trump though, it is about the treatment of Black men and women in america, whether it’s from systemic racism, or violence and murder by police officers without impunity. So tomorrow we ask that you join Twitterdom and take a knee at 1:00 pm EST no matter where you are. Take a knee and say the names of the over 250 Black people killed by police officers in 2016. If you want, take a picture and post in on social media with #TakeAKnee and make sure to support others who are standing… or kneeling against racism.

 

Take a Knee

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Your DGB for today is to tweet your support for Colin Kaepernick and members of the NFL who have refused to stand for the national anthem in order to bring attention to social justice and civil rights issues.  

Read this powerful piece by Kaepernick’s teammate Eric Reid. Peaceful protest is both an important component of social change and protected by our Constitution. In addition, there is no better cause than the fight against the systemic oppression of People of Color. It is national tragedy that the current occupant of the Oval Office respects neither the cause nor the right to protest. But we can do something.

On social media, use the hashtags #TakeAKnee, #BLM, and #BlackLivesMatter. Signal boost and center the voices of the marginalized, of those protesting, of those under the thumb of oppression. We are better than our so-called leader - let’s show it.

 

Police Use Of Force Project

Your DGB for today is to disseminate the findings of the Police Use Of Force Project.

In particular, police departments with more restrictive use of force policies enjoy a lower rate of assault on officers, including fewer officers being killed in the line of duty. More statistics and analysis can be found on their website, but DGB thinks this particular one has broad and bipartisan appeal. Share with your social media circle, use it in debate, bring it up over dinner.

 

 

As it turns out, “blue lives matter” and ending police violence aren’t divergent goals. More policies to protect and preserve life benefit all lives and all communities.

 

 

One Bad Apple

Your DGB for today is to contact the Tulsa Police Department and demand they fire murderer Betty Shelby.

If you haven’t heard any backstory on Betty Shelby, here’s the brief breakdown. Basically, Officer Betty Shelby shot Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, because she feared he was reaching for a gun… through a rolled up window. Yeah, we know. Jurors believed that she was in fear for her life and she was found not guilty of felony manslaughter on May 17th. As if that verdict does not sting enough, Officer Betty Shelby is now back on active duty, earning a huge WTF from DGB.

What we want you to do today is contact the Tulsa PD and demand Officer Betty Shelby be fired from her job. You can contact them by phone and file an anonymous complaint with Internal Affairs at (918) 596-1355. Feel free to cite statistics like the 183 instances of deadly force in the past ten years (11 so far this year), in the state of Oklahoma and we need to set an example by firing Betty Shelby. You can also use their online form, email, or even send them a letter or postcard. All of the contact info can be found on their Internal Affairs contact page. If you want to go further, get in touch with the Oklahoma Division of Black Lives Matter and see what you can do to help. Whether it’s calling people, donating money to their organization, or attending an event, we need to support the people who are busting their asses to make a change in our communities.

Terence Crutcher deserves justice, as do all the other people of color whose lives are taken by officers, simply because their skin was scary. We understand that not all police are bad, and some of us even have family in the force, but you know the saying “One bad apple spoils the whole bunch?" It’s about time we start tossing out the bad apples.

 

Keep Your Eye on the Ball: Police Violence

Your DGB for today is to follow, share, retweet, and otherwise amplify the voices of organizations documenting and working to end police violence.

This month we learned that the numbers for citizens killed by the police are actually on the rise, but thanks to the scandal-machine in the Oval Office, nothing else can get any traction in the news, let alone the deaths of Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Are you one who needs to read all the horrific facts for yourself? Check out databases like this one or this one for the alarming truth. If we don’t want this issue to fall through the cracks, we’re going to have to take to social media to make sure it stays in the minds of our friends, neighbors, and the American electorate. So, please follow Killed By Police and Mapping Police Violence, as well as Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero on social media and share their content as widely and as loudly as you can.

Just because traditional media is distracted, doesn’t mean we have to be.


 

Help Redistribute the Wealth and Support Black Businesses

Your DGB for today is to seek out and support black owned and operated businesses. Whether these businesses are online, local, or non-profit, do what you can to support them and help redistribute some of this nation’s wealth.

In December of 2015 an article put out by Mother Jones revealed some staggering numbers. 100 of the richest US citizens control as much money as all 42 million of the nation's black population.

Backing Black Business wants to change all that. It’s an online resource, partnering with Black Lives Matter, where you can search for a local, online, or non-profit black run business, or you can register your own black run business. 

As Bernie Sanders said “a nation will not survive morally or economically, when so few have so much, while so many have so little.” American money and power has been consolidated among the mostly white and primarily male for long enough. Do your part to redistribute the wealth while supporting the black community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

Police Training Bill

Your DGB for today is to contact Congress to express your support for a bill that will mandate additional training for police officers in de-escalation and using the lowest level of force necessary.

In the last few years there have been a number of highly publicized and questionable police shootings against American citizens, especially those in marginalized communities. The Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act of 2016 is a bill currently before Congress that seeks to reduce these incidents through training. At DGB, we support this win-win effort to protect communities and support positive change.

The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigation. We ask you to call your Senators and Representatives, and urge them to push the bill to a passing vote, ESPECIALLY if you are a constituent of committee members (looking at you, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Texas, Utah, South Carolina, Idaho, Colorado, and Michigan). You can find the list of committee members here

You can also follow this link and sign the petition to demand congress pass this bill.

Currently, police spend 13 times more hours in training on gun use and mastering defensive tactics than they do in learning how to de-escalate conflicts.  It’s time to change the way police departments approach officer training. This bill aims to create trust and cooperation between law enforcement and communities.

If you’d like to educate yourself further on this topic, this Washington Post Database shows the number of fatal shootings of citizens by police officers in 2016.