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Black lives matter

A statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter from The CAIR Project and the Network for Reproductive Options

July 14, 2016

Last week, police officers murdered three Black men: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Alva Braziel. Police also killed six Latinxs: Fermin Vincent Valenzuela, Vinson Ramos, Melissa Ventura, Anthony Nuñez, Pedro Villanueva, and Raul Saavedra-Vargas. 

The CAIR Project and the Network for Reproductive Options are saddened, sickened, and outraged by this racist violence.

As organizations currently with a majority of White board members and volunteers, we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the many other organizations that have been working for racial justice, and we call on the White people among our families, friends, and communities to join this movement. 

White silence fuels violence.

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of racist violence, as well as to those of the five murdered Dallas police officers. We mourn them, and we mourn the many trans and gender non-conforming people of color murdered this year, among them Monica Loera, Jasmine Sierra, Veronica Banks Cano, Maya Young, Demarkis Stansberry, Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, Kourtney Yochum, Shante Thompson, Keyonna Blakeney, Reese Walker, Mercedes Successful, Amos Beede, and Goddess Diamond. We also mourn the 49 lives, mostly queer Latinx people, lost to hate in Orlando.

We are abortion funds. We believe all people should be able to determine if and when to have children, and to raise children in safe and healthy environments, free from violence. Black Lives Matter is central to our missions because anti-Black racism prevents many Black people from doing this.

We recognize that anti-Black racism is the root cause of police and other violence against Black communities, and that anti-Black racism is at the core of White supremacy. White supremacy is, in the words of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective co-founder, Loretta Ross, “a set of ideas created to generate wealth in the United States and reserve it for the benefit of a certain group of people, originally property-owning White men. It has evolved into a totalizing system—a toxic sea in which we all swim.”

We affirm the humanity and dignity of all Black people and people of color, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, income, immigration status, national origin, language, and other identities. We recognize that discrimination based on these identities overlaps.

We recognize that the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Alva Braziel are the latest in a legacy of systemic, racist violence and devaluation of Black life that reaches back before the founding of the United States. 

We deplore and condemn the police brutality and other forms of racist violence that rob children of parents, and parents of children.

We demand that police stop the violence against people of color. We demand accountability for those who do commit this racist violence.

We reject deflections such as “All Lives Matter.”

We refuse to succumb to feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.

We commit to doing the ongoing work it takes to become/be anti-racist organizations.

We commit to opposing racism in our personal and professional lives, every day. This means examining and interrupting our own racist thoughts and actions. This means holding other White people accountable. This means using our “power and privilege responsibly in the service of justice.”

We recognize that because racist oppression is systemic and institutional, individual change is not enough. We commit to using our social capital, power, and privilege to change the systems, structures, and organizational cultures that perpetuate violence and White supremacy. 

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other organizations working for justice, respect, and dignity for communities of color.

We echo the National Network of Abortion Funds with this call to action: “If you have not been paying attention, this is the time to start. If you have been paying attention and have remained silent, this is the time to speak. If you have been speaking and unwilling to take action, this is the time to act. If you have been acting, it is time to get louder.”

There are a lot of ways to get involved, and we ask you to take action on some level. Talk to your family, neighbors, and coworkers. On a community level, investigate your city or town's police oversight policies. Get involved in your local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. Donate money to organizations like Black Lives Matter. When people are arrested for demonstrating, donate to the bail fund to get them out of jail and back in their communities.

Black lives matter.

Black lives matter.

Black lives matter.