Georgia WAND Statement on Baltimore
According to residents in Baltimore, if political figures had invested federal resources in ALL communities equally over the past several decades, the world would be looking at a different #Baltimore than the one we've witnessed this week. But as a sage elder always reminds me, "the Truth will rise to the top. It always does."
The Truth that arose in Baltimore this week is emblematic of how the U.S. has failed Black communities. Disproportionate incarceration and poverty rates, a lack of adequate education, jobs, healthy food, opportunity to advance, health care, political representation, and infrastructure have all contributed to struggling Black communities in Baltimore.
Freddie Gray, a "creature of God, son of a mother," was the latest Black man to be killed by an unforgiving police force. In fact, within 28 hours, according to a study by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, at the hands of a police officer, security guard, or vigilante, another Black man will face a similar fate.
Systemic, state-sanctioned violence is targeted. This violence is targeted against Black people, against Trans women, especially Trans women of color, and all women, against LGBTQ people, and against Latino immigrants. On foreign soil, systemic, military violence also kills people--but not just soldiers of other armies. National WAND reports that 90% of deaths from war are civilians, mainly women and children. State violence breeds distrust: of the U.S., of politicians, of the the police, of the military, of what the U.S. purportedly stand for. And some would say, after years of systemic violence and mistreatment, distrust of White people.
The cycle of violence plays out in every city and on every block. This is because systemic violence breeds home-grown, individual violence. U.S. citizen terrorists target public spaces.Domestic violence largely targets women. Street violence targets fellow neighbors and vulnerable people. Sex slavery targets young girls and boys and other isolated individuals. These are large-scale social problems fueled by a militarized society.
Fortunately, another Truth has risen up in Baltimore this week: that time and time again, in the face of oppression, Black communities demonstrate how they are resilient, powerful, unified across gender and age, strategic, and inclusive of others across differences of race, sexuality, gender identity, and political leanings, as demonstrated by Baltimore United.
Showing Up for Racial Justice promotes having dialogue and standing strong in solidarity. It is critical that we have more conversations and action around racism but also about resourcing humanity and investing in human development and thriving communities--from education to cleaning up environmental contamination. What matters is funding the health of the entire "ecology" of a community, a concept introduce by Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy's Collette Pichon Battle. All we see are budget cuts. But the money is there. Billions of dollars are there. But rather than supporting job training, access to healthy food, civic engagement, conflict management, cultural humility, and anti-racism/anti-sexism training, we invest in more tools of violence.
To demand that investments of federal, state, and local public resources be made in programs and policies that promote or result in justice, peace, and unity, we must unite and "Move the Money," the traditional National Priorities Project / Pentagon Spending Campaign mantra. Do we want to invest $1 trillion into nuclear weapons over the next 10 years or do we want to invest in our communities and families?
Nuclear weapons programs, weaponized drones, weapons modernization systems, new missiles, subs, and bombs, and wasteful defense contracts must from now on be relics of a different age. An age before Climate disaster and the Internet. Before the rise of a new generation of innovative political leaders. Before re-valuing social mores, spirituality, and connectedness.
Where we spend our resources -- time, money, energy -- reflects our values. We at Georgia WAND value people and the environment, and we encourage you to join this larger struggle.
Attend the following events and help end systemic violence and militarism:
1. #RestInPower: A Memorial for Black Lives: Saturday, May 2nd
Mourn the loss and honor the legacy of black lives in our community here in Georgia.
The day will begin with a processional from Rise Up's office in Atlanta's West End, at 1292 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30310. Participants are asked to drive or bike to the office at 11:00am, so that the processional may leave at noon. RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/622354841241445/
2. Mother's Day for Peace: Bold Peace--From Here to Where? Sunday May 1
Click here for event info. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.
3. Pentagon Budget / Move the Money Training: Saturday July 11
Come together with other community leaders to learn about the federal budget and establish collective strategies for responding to needs in our communities through moving money from Pentagon line items to human and environmental needs.
For more information about these activities, please contact Becky Rafter, Executive Director, at 404-524-5999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.