Accountability Checklist: What is our responsibility as Americans?

Accountability+Checklist%3A+What+is+our+responsibility+as+Americans%3F

Compiled by Pia Sharma and West End Secondary’s Social Justice Club

 

The murder of George Floyd on May 25th has sparked the rise of protests, riots, petitions, organizations, movements, and tools made by the American people, for the American people, to not only bring justice to Floyd’s family and name, but also to the families and names of the countless other victims of police brutality cases that weren’t taken to court, weren’t acknowledged by the law, and weren’t caught on camera.

The most direct method of change is to vote for elected officials that advocate for the issues and reform. However, judging the optics of the public response, it is clear that the American youth are the ones who care the most despite us having the least amount of power in controlling who and what the American people are represented by. We often find ourselves wondering what we can do to help. The more we learn about how pressing this matter is and how long it has been ignored, there is no more time for lives to be lost and doing something, anything at all, is the obligation we all have to one another and to our country. Here are some ways that people of all ages can help take a step towards justice and change:

 

  • Have a conversation with your friends and family

  • Have a conversation with yourself

  • Vote!

  • Sign petitions + Donate to organizations/funds

  • Reach out to government officials!!!!

  • Educate yourself

 

*scroll down to see each subtitle*

 

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

 

 

Have a conversation with your friends and family….

 

No matter what your views are, change is needed urgently. Not just in policy and practice, but in mentality and mental conditioning. Make sure you’re having open conversations with the people you surround yourself with, ask questions, and learn together. Yes, it might be uncomfortable and challenging to learn how to have difficult conversations with people who have opposing opinions and perspectives, but the worst thing anyone can do right now is to say nothing. It is imperative that the American people do not choose to be silent: call out the people around you, always question the status quo, and recognize if the people around you want equality or normalcy. Ask yourself what ‘normalcy’ really means to them and why the continuation and perpetuation of police brutality cannot be the accepted norm or considered ‘normal’.

 

 

Have a conversation with yourself….

 

Ask yourself the questions you might not be comfortable with being asked out loud, the questions that influence the way you experience life, the questions that influence your perception of the way other people experience life, and the questions that will shape your role and perspective on the matter: 

  • How do you respond to racist behavior?

  • How has coded language contributed to your definition/perception of a ‘good neighborhood’, a ‘good school’, an ‘underdeveloped’ facility, and why using the word ‘master’ or ‘mastered’ is synonymous with achievement?

  • How has your life been impacted by the color of your skin?

  • How would your life change if your skin color did? How would your privilege change?

  • Why is it important for everyone to work towards ending injustice and inequity?

  • What have you done to help the movement? What can you do? What should you be doing? And most importantly: what will you do?

  • If this movement ends up in your grandchildren’s textbooks *which it will*, what would you want to tell them you did to help? How does that compare to what you’re actually doing?

*Now that the environment for change has been created, action is the next step*

 

 

If you are over 18, our nation needs you to vote.

Register now.

 

 

 

Petitions/organizations that people of all ages can sign and donate to: George Floyd’s petition: 

 

As I am writing this, it is important to mention that the four officers involved in Geoge Floyd’s murder have been prosecuted and fired fromt he police department in Minneapolis. Justice for Floyd doesn’t mean that the fight is over. Justice was brought only becuase justice was demanded by the people. Donating goes a long way and hundreds of other police brutality murders have yet to be accounted for:

  • “A division of the Louisville Police Department performed an illegal, unannounced drug raid on her home. Not a single officer announced themselves before ramming down her door and firing 22 shots, shooting Breonna 8 times, killing her.”. They were at the wrong house. Breonna Taylor. (petition)

  • Text ‘ENOUGH’ to 55156 to sign a petition for justice – Breonna Taylor

  • “We are trying to bring everyone back to the foundation of how we got here, how it affects our experiences in society, and how we experience ourselves. Not just for one race, but for all minorities. Our solution has been in our face the whole time. We have to reach the ones that actually affect our future: our children.”. Educating our children on racism through the school system.

  • The Black Male Voter Project is building a movement that encourages black men to regularly and actively engage in the electoral process. Aiming towards a full representation of our nations demographic is to promote the authenticity of the representative democracy we stand by and depend on.

  • This video, along with others on YouTube, donates money to BLM organizations just by playing the video and NOT skipping through the ads. This is a great option for those who can’t donate money directly to the cause. *donate without actually spending your own money*

  • BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100) is a member-based organization of Black youth activists creating justice and freedom for all black people through transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy, and political education. 

  • Black Futures Lab works directly with black people to transform their communities, build black political power and change the way that power operates locally, statewide, and nationally. 

  • Support Color Of Change: The largest online racial justice organization in the country. Color of Change has been actively working to hold the officers who kill George Floyd accountable. 

  • Donate to Equal Justice Initiative: “The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. “

  • I run with Maud: (From the Go Fund Me page) On February 23, 2020, 25 year-old Ahmaud Arbery was chased and gunned down by Travis McMichael, son of retired Brunswick investigator Greg McMichael, under the father’s and son’s pretenses of witnessing a burglary in Satilla Shores of Glynn County. There is no evidence of the alleged burglary. Furthermore, McMichael’s account of the deadly encounter with Arbery was not released until nearly 6 weeks following the shooting. 

  • NAACP : “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.”

  • George Floyd Memorial Fund

  • Bail Funds

  • Ban the use of rubber bullets at protests!!

Super easy ways to reach out to government officials + their offices that requires minimal effort (I promise it’ll take less than two minutes)

 

 

Contacting Senate Majority Leader and Speaker about repealing bill 50-A: 

Contact Info:

Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins:

Albany Office: 518-455-2585

District Office: 914-423-4031

E-mail: [email protected] 

 

Speaker Heastie

Albany Office: 518-455-3791

District Office: 718-654-6539

E-mail: [email protected] 

 

Call Script for Majority Leader & Speaker:

Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am calling to urge Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins/Speaker Heastie to reconvene session and pass the bill to repeal 50-a (A2513/S3695) carried by Senator Bailey and Assemblyman O’Donnell. In light of the recent police violence in New York, we are counting on the legislature to move this critical police transparency measure. Will the Majority Leader/Speaker commit to reconvening session and bringing the bill to repeal 50-a to the floor?  Thank you for your time. 

    • Email Script for Majority Leader & Speaker:

Dear Majority Leader/Speaker, 

I am writing to urge you to reconvene the legislative session this week and pass the bill to repeal 50-a (A2513/S3695), the Police STAT Act (A5472A/S1830B) and the rest of the #SaferNYAct bills. In light of the recent police violence in New York, we are counting on the legislature to move this critical police transparency measure. Can you commit to reconvene and bring the repeal 50-a bill to the floor for a vote? Thank you for your consideration.

  • Educate yourself and others…..

    • Systematic racism in America and it’s modern history: explained

    • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (book) Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism

    • Free Ebook: The End of Policing

    • How To Be An Antiracist (book) by Ibram X. Kendi

    • Just Mercy: A story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (book and movie) 

    • 13th (documentary by Ava Duvernay on Netflix)

    • Autobiography of Malcom X 

    • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Book by Michelle Alexander (on their website they offer discounts on 10 copies or more to schools and other groups.) 

    • Sister’s Uptown Bookstore is presently the oldest black and family-owned bookstore and community cultural center in Washington Heights/Harlem dedicated to nourishing the minds, hearts and souls of the community with present and past works of gifted African American, Latinx, and other great authors and intellectuals. 

    • Black Panthers, film by Agnes Varda

    • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Documentary by Stanley Nelson Jr.

    • Ear Hustle is a Podcast about the daily lives of incarcerated people at San Quentin prison hosted by formerly incarcerated, Earlonne Woods and Antwan Williams with Nigel Poor who is an artist that volunteers at the prison. 

    • 1618 Podcast by the NY times (available on Spotify) explains the history of slavery and racism in America from the very beginning+it’s free.

  • Other resources….

  • Other Ways to Help that I might have missed or forgot to mention

  • PROTEST INFO IN NYC: FOLLOW THE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT- @justiceforgeorgenyc

  • @justiceforgeorgenyc posts updates and information about the protests from all five boroughs around the city. Stay safe!