|Published: June 2, 2020|
We mourn, we moan and we grieve. The current environment of overt and systemic racism has America on fire. As we watch media in all its forms we bear witness to the anger, to the frustration and to the brutality in the streets all over this country and beyond. The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and the thousands of Black women, men, and children murdered, hung from trees, strangled, unable to breath as well as the white rage flowing through the veins of this county (i.e. Amy Cooper “Central Park Karen”), both triggers our ancestral pain and fuels us to organize.
We stand in solidarity with and commend the courageous actions of the black organizers and freedom fighters who have taken to the streets in rebellion and who are putting their lives on the line to take our movement forward. We have a responsibility and duty to be in solidarity with our young people and front line organizers. They represent the fruits of our labor, joys, struggles and victories. We also have a responsibility and duty to not silence or suppress the collective pain and anger displayed during this rebellion. Judging our young people, our front line organizers or our freedom fighters only serves the system that has been judge and jury in keeping racism, domination, and oppression in place.
We at the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond have seen this before and our many organizers from all generations and walks of life have participated in protests and in marches for decades. We offer our 40 plus year history, lessons learned and anti-racist principles to help ground us all as this uprising brings us to into the 2020 struggle.
- The face of racism may change, yet it roots are the same. The changing face requires that we be strategic, that we know history and we always reflect upon our collective lessons learned.
- The human rights/civil rights movement has always been infiltrated by operatives of the same system oppressing Black people and other oppressed peoples. Provocateurs’ capitalizing on our pain is not new in our various communities. We must be aware of their presence and resist the urge to be used by them.
- Our work must remain humanistic even in the face of a dehumanizing system and state sanctioned violence. As stated by Dr. Jim Dunn, Co-founder of The People’s Institute, “The degree that we see someone less than human or treat someone less than human is the degree to which we are out of touch with what it means to be human being.” We must be guided by humanistic principles and values. As front line organizers, remember to take care of your mental and emotional well being. Always make space for healing, reflection and recuperation.
- Keep the well-being of our families centered at all times. Our family members, loved ones and elders are at the heart of our work. They are important and necessary. No amount of protest will have a lasting and powerfully impactful if we don’t address what’s happening at home.
- Systemic and cultural racism harms all families and it will take a multi-racial movement to end racism. Black families, our work is not only to dismantle the oppressive system but to use our organizing as a tool to heal from internalized oppression and help our people get a sense of their own power outside of the system. Non-black people of color, we can now see more clearly that the anti-black racism that this country was built on has used and abused your communities as well, especially in the wake of the targeted racial harassment of people of Asian American descent and the scapegoating of an entire people as the cause of COVID 19. Your organizing must address anti-blackness if you are going to ever truly be free of oppression. White folks, your work is in your communities. Learn your history, how you became white and the history of resistance of white folks working to undo racism. Organize and build a humanistic approach that takes responsibility for all white people- even your republican, conservative, liberal or overtly racist family members. When you deeply understand how the concept of whiteness has dehumanized you and harms your communities it can fuel you to work even harder to Undo racism.
- Resist the urge to place the massive uprisings and protests on just one or two incidents. We encourage people to learn and embrace the understanding that racism works through an interconnected web of systems. These systems from criminal justice to healthcare to education work together to create the realities we are facing. Our approach to Undoing Racism has to acknowledge its consolidated impact on our communities.
- Actions to address over 400 years of white supremacy, domination and racism must be addressed in an inter-generational manner. There is a massive network of people and organizations built over generations, working in a collective strategy (with anti-racist principles) to undo racism and uplift humanity both on a community level and doing work within systems. Don’t miss an opportunity to benefit from, connect or enhance the groundwork that has already been laid, even in the urgency of rebellion.
- Remember that programs program. Programs in our community without an analysis strangle real change and transformation. Co-Founder of The Institute, Ronald Chisom, reminds us that “People are not poor because they lack programs. They are poor because they lack power.”
Lastly, we must bring HOPE. Release the thinking that we will get back to normal. Normal was killing the spirit of us all and negatively impacting the environment. Know that this is a marathon; there is no sprint to the finish. Build your internal strength to stay in a difficult conversation with the people you love; the people who gave you life, even when you have different opinions. Look at your our patterns of strangulation, power over, domination, and violence to yourself. Believe that as a people, a nation a world can be better. Know that when we are united and operating from sound principles and values we will win.
As George Floyd called out for his mother, the universe heard the cry and Mother Earth felt the call. We as anti-racist and humanistic organizers also heard his cries. It is a call to respond more and react less.
We at The People’s Institute believe we…
- Undo Racism
- Understand, Share and Celebrate Culture
- Re-examine and Learn from History
- Analyze the Manifestations of Racism
- Undo Internalized Racial Oppression
- Develop Leadership
- Maintain Accountability
- Reshape Gatekeeping
Join us in this global Undoing Racism Movement. For more information visit www.pisab.org and connect with us on Twitter @undoingracism and Facebook @thepeoplesinstitute.
The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond