Statement on Charleston
We are outraged and deeply saddened from the act of violence in Charleston, SC, at the Emanuel AME Church. Those of us who are White stand strong in solidarity with Black, southern leadership around next steps and calls to action. The time to act is now and it is urgent.
First, let us say their names:
Cynthia Hurd, 54 years old
Suzy Jackson, 87 years old
Ethel Lee Lance, 70 years old
Rev. De'Payne Middleton-Doctor, 49 years old
Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41 years old
Tywanza Sanders, 26 years old
Rev. Daniel L. Simmons, 74 years old
Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45 years old
Myra Thompson, 59 years old
Second, let's take a step back notice a few cues from social media....
- how delicately White police officers handled the killer, Dylann Roof compared to their violent treatment of Black men and women who had their hands up or who were selling cigarettes;
- how social media was largely silent last week after a White police officer humiliated, abused, and threatened Black kids with a gun and vile language at a pool party in Texas. His treatment of the youth was abhorrent; or how similar brutal behavior this week at a pool in Ohio, resulting in breaking a 12-year old Black girl's jaw and other serious injuries; and
- how there is an apartheid happening in the Dominican Republic that mirrors the U.S.'s targeting and expulsion of undocumented people, especially in the south.
It's important to take note of these disparities of treatment and outrage.
Maybe it's easier to identify with people if they're praying as opposed to breaking laws. Or to throw down against a vigilante gunman than the police or military, by whom White people by and large feel more protected than people of color. What is really happening is systemic racism, and we must all name it, and then we must act every day and throughout our organizations and places of worship and talking to our kids and using all means available to us to expel it.
Third, let's remember why we come to Georgia WAND:
To fight for peace, to end the violence against our health and environment perpetuated by the nuclear industry, whether by energy or weapons and environmental justice. The struggle for Humanity. Yes, we are doing that. That fight, at it's very core, means fighting for racial justice, freedom from state-sanctioned, systemic violence, power, and control, and liberation for women and all people.
Fourth, let's agree on what we're fighting for:
Violence targets people who lack adequate political power to fight back. It includes arming the federal budget; siting nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants and other toxic manufacturing in communities of color; paying women $.77 sometimes .48 cents for every $1 a man makes; inhumanely treating immigrants, young people, disabled people, poor people, and much much more. It means failing to educate public school students about Black, Latino, Indigenous, and others' contributions to the country's cultural, social, technological, and economic well-being.
It includes placing barrier upon barrier to voting, lobbying, running for office, and other means of gaining political power.
Georgia WAND is a unique network of individuals fighting for these things. I am confident that we are doing the right thing. I'm proud to be working alongside people and ancestors from a 30+-year tradition of action and envelope-pushing. Today is no different.
Finally, let's act!
Together we are making a difference - but we need you now more than ever. This email contains at least four or five opportunities for immediate action, to plug into great work being done. If you can't do one of these things, please contact us at 404-524-5999 and let me or Che know when you can talk so we can get you more involved.
Thank you for every effort you make, every gift you give - we're doing this, and we continue to need you with us.
Until we win,
Please join us in honoring the victims of the Emanuel AME Church shooting.