It’s been two years since the birth of Black Lives Matter (BLM), and this week the often maligned group of civil rights advocates has released its long-awaited policy agenda.
Just days ahead of the birthday of Michael Brown Jr., the teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., the group’s platform titled “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice” is the result of more than 60 established activist and advocacy groups converging to offer six core demands and 40 national policy priorities. The six platform demands are:
—End the war on Black people;
—Reparations for past and continuing harms;
—Divestment from the institutions that criminalize, cage and harm Black people; make investments in the education, health and safety of Black people;
—Economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure our communities have collective ownership, not merely access;
—Community control of the laws, institutions and policies that impact us most;
—Independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society.
“Our grievances and solutions extend beyond the police killings of our people; state violence includes failing schools that criminalize our children, dwindling earning opportunities, wars on our trans and queer family that deny them of their humanity, and so much more,” said Montague Simmons of the Organization for Black Struggle and the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table. “That is why we are united, with a renewed energy and purpose, to put forth a shared vision of the world we want to live in.”
Among the methods advocated to achieve those demands are a demilitarization of police and an end to “systemic attacks” on Black youth. There is a call for the passage of state and federal laws that acknowledge and address the impacts of slavery and avocation for the passage of H.R. 40 to form a commission to study reparations proposals.
“We realize that not all of our collective needs and visions can be translated into policy, but we understand that policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision; a world where freedom and justice is the reality,” said M. Adams, co-executive director of Freedom Inc.
The platform comes days after the culmination of both national political conventions. BLM has called on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and party leaders to adhere to a relatively progressive platform that includes a call for criminal justice reforms. The group said the campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump is a “not-so-veiled” throwback to the days of Richard Nixon that worked to suppress “free speech” and other social movements, and thwart efforts by African Americans to fight racism and systemic oppression.