Last Friday, June 19th, 2020 — also known as Juneteenth — marked the 155th anniversary of the United States officially proclaiming an end to slavery. Yet this year, in 2020, Black Americans are still having to fight for liberation from systematized brutality here in New Jersey and across the country.
Jersey Renews stands with the Movement for Black Lives and the ongoing uprising here in New Jersey and across the country. We call for justice for Rayshard Brooks, Maurice Gordon, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop and the countless other Black people whose lives have been senselessly cut short by racist violence in the past several months alone.
We stand alongside our Black members, Black-led partner organizations and the Black workers represented by our union partners. Racial justice is climate justice. The climate crisis is a direct consequence of systems of colonialism, white supremacy and white privilege, in which Black lives are treated as disposable vehicles for profit. It is no surprise that Black New Jerseyans are disproportionately poisoned by toxins in their air, water, soil, homes, schools and workplaces and bear the brunt of climate calamities. Without addressing anti-Black racism in all its forms, it is impossible to achieve meaningful action on climate.
In addition to supporting the Movement for Black Lives in person, online and financially, a serious commitment to anti-racism means we must engage in this work for the long haul. Black communities and Black-led organizations have long led the fights for clean air and water, a livable climate, good green jobs, public health, and now, a just economic recovery. In order to do our work well, we must follow the leadership of our Black members and allies, use our own platforms to share Black voices, and work to more deeply engage with member organizations that represent communities of color. We’d like to lift up two specific partners that have taken phenomenal leadership in organizing for racial justice: the Black Issues Convention, which convenes Black-led organizations across the state to discuss prescient issues and mobilize for policy change, and Isles, which works to correct systemic racism through wealth-building programs, job training and environmental justice advocacy.
Jersey Renews must stand against racism wherever it rears its ugly head: in our deeply unequal healthcare system, in those things our state prioritizes – and does not prioritize – in the recovery from COVID-19, in policing that has terrorized and killed Black and brown people for centuries.
We ask our members and partners to show up for Black lives right now. In addition to protesting in person, calling decision-makers or organizing virtually, consider making a donation to one or more of the following Black-led organizations that are working for justice, liberation and a country where all Black folks have what they need to thrive:
- Salvation and Social Justice
- People’s Organization for Progress
- Ironbound Community Corporation
- New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance
- Black Visions Collective (based in Minnesota)
- Dream Defenders (based in Florida)
- Nina Pop and Tony McDade Memorial Funds (mental health support for Black trans people): paypal.me/theokraproject
- Women for Political Change Mutual Aid Fund
We also invite white-led and majority-white partner organizations to read this piece from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups on how organizations often perpetuate white supremacist culture, and to use this as a jumping-off point for conversations within our organizations on how we can actively work to shift patterns of organizational racism. And don’t forget that one of the most important things white people can do is continue our own education and start conversations with family and friends – unlearning racism starts at home.
With hope and determination,