No More Strange Fruit! Call to Action from Charlotte Uprising

On September 20th, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police killed Keith Lamont Scott, a disabled Black father who deserved to live. People have taken to the streets of Charlotte every day and every night to demand an end to the war on Black lives and Black communities. People on the ground continue to be met with police repression from the police murder of Justin Carr in the protests to the use of tear gas in crowds to the issuing of warrants for the arrests of people who have livestreamed from the frontlines.

Led by Black, queer & trans organizers & accomplices, the Charlotte Uprising has tirelessly inspired people to resist state violence and dream of new possibilities beyond the current conditions we live in. Freedom fighters in Charlotte are now calling on freedom fighters everywhere to host coordinated actions on Tuesday, October 4, which will mark two weeks since Keith’s murder.

Eleven days into the Uprising and Charlotte is still bubbling with righteous rage and energy. We see this rage and energy connecting cities across the country–from Tulsa, OK to San Diego, CA where communities are lifting up the names of Terrence Crutcher and Alfred Olango, both Black men killed by police. Black people are being criminalized, killed, and abused by the police state everywhere. We raise Charlotte’s struggle and demands alongside those of Black communities across the country fighting against the structure whose murderous shootings are what we deem modern day lynchings. Let our actions show solidarity with the resistance in Charlotte, as well as demanding an end to the anti-Black, classist, gender-policing system of police and prisons that holds so much power over our lives everywhere.

While recent uprisings have immediately followed the murders of Black men, it must not be lost on us that our resistance is in response to the same system that is killing Black women and femmes via police violence, criminalization of Black motherhood & self-defense, and the perpetuation of sexual violence. We must say the names of Korryn Gaines, Sandra Bland, Mya Hall, and the countless Black women and femmes whose deaths must invoke outrage and responsibility.

For folks in North Carolina, come to Charlotte! For folks elsewhere, organize an action–whether it be a rally, march, street theater performance, or turn up–to pull out your communities in solidarity with Charlotte, with Tulsa, with San Diego, with every city where Black folks are rising up and demanding strange fruit no more!

#CharlotteUprising
Follow this event page for specific details for Charlotte and actions in other cities. Submit information about your city’s action by sending an email to charlituprising@gmail.com.

Baltimore: https://www.facebook.com/events/330219737369675/
Chicago: https://www.facebook.com/events/1804014253179223/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1757587061156584/
Detroit: https://www.facebook.com/events/918263058317823/
NYC: https://www.facebook.com/events/565163050352066/
Buffalo, NY: https://www.facebook.com/events/1230376930366031/
Columbia University (NYC): https://www.facebook.com/events/629215307260003/?notif_t=plan_user_invited&notif_id=1475558330281575
Washington, DC: https://www.facebook.com/events/1659210907741378/
Philadelphia, PA: https://www.facebook.com/events/1287459501266760/
Roanoke, VA: https://www.facebook.com/events/1791596314454706/
Silverdale, WA: https://www.facebook.com/events/323702664650647/
Iowa City, Iowa: https://www.facebook.com/events/515895891953266/

Black Lives Matter! Durham Rally Against Police Terror

Black Lives Matter! Durham Rally Against Police Terror

Almost 600 people have been killed by the police in the United States just since the beginning of this year. This month we witness the senseless, horrific killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, and Alva Braziel in Houston. In our own state, earlier this year police killed Akiel Denkins in Raleigh, Deriante Miller in Kinston, and Jai “Jerry” Williams in Asheville less than two weeks ago.

We have seen the murder of Black people at the hands of police over, and over, and over. Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mya Hall, Mike Brown, Rekia Boyd, John Crawford. It is time for us to unapologetically speak this truth: Cops and prisons do not keep us safe. Police regularlyharass and kill Black and Brown people with little to no repercussions or arrest them so prisons and jails can make massive profits.

We say enough is enough.

Across the country community members are dreaming and implementing community based solutions that do not include police or prisons. We demand a Durham Beyond Policing.

We say NO to a new $71 million police palace scheduled to be built in Durham this year

We say NO to an annual police budget of nearly $60 million when the Durham police department has demonstrated to be racist and violent.

We say NO to any local complicity or cooperation with ICE: ripping immigrant families apart and violently detaining and deporting children.

We demand meaningful investment in restorative justice programs, and community needs that actually keep people safe like jobs, healthcare, and housing.

We demand the City Council disarm, defund, and disempower the police, and instead fund Black futures!

From Baton Rouge to Oakland, people are mobilizing across the country. It is necessary that we stand together in struggle against the state-sanctioned murder of Black people as we organize our communities.

#BlackLivesMatter

1st day of Raleigh Freedom School

It’s Day 1 of Freedom School in Raleigh! This morning we soul mapped with Carly, then did radical journaling with Des. Now Babette and Bryan are leading a workshop on dismantling oppression.

What are the roots of oppression? Check out our tree: colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism!

Thanks to everyone who has helped make this happen!

Free Wildin!

We are writing as members of the Durham Association of Educators in NC. As teachers, it is our job to make sure our students can learn and grow. And when they can’t, it is our duty to fight for that to change. We have received disturbing news regarding one of our students, Wilden Guillen Acosta (206 799 049), who is being held in Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. On Tuesday, June 7th, he was placed into solitary confinement for minor administrative violations, the last of which occurred while Wildin was helping a fellow inmate translate a letter from Spanish to English. Along with Wildin, we are unsure why he was issued this third citation for an act of kindness and sharing knowledge- something we highly encourage in our classrooms.

More troubling is the fact that this sentence occurred the day before his high school graduation from Riverside High School- something we know was on his mind after working so diligently in our classes to ensure his graduation before he was detained and repeatedly requesting his school work while in detention. The psychological effects of solitary confinement are debilitating and we worry about the impact on Wildin as he faces such a long time alone, especially after just having missed his high school graduation. The timing couldn’t be worse.

We are disturbed to learn from Wildin that on his first day in “the hole,” all of the restricted housing units were full and so Wildin was placed in a cell with a detainee who was mentally unstable and violent. In addition to the threat this posed to Wildin’s safety and well-being, it is troubling to see evidence that suggests solitary confinement is being used in the absence of mental health support for inmates.

Moreover, the sequence of events leading to this disproportionate sentence lead us to believe that Wildin is facing retaliation from CCA and ICE for being a high profile detainee who is an outspoken advocate about the conditions of confinement in Stewart and his own prolonged detention. These citations come after Rep Butterfield’s visit to Stewart and during a week of action for Wildin. Furthermore, these citations are very minor and punishment in solitary confinement is grossly disproportionate. We do not believe that community support should result in mistreatment, and as teachers, we are committed to continue fighting for the safety and rights of our student until his release.

We are concerned that this sentence was originally for 45 days in restricted housing, and that it was only reduced to 15 days due to the advocacy of our Congressman Butterfield. The severity of Wildin’s initial sentence leads us to believe that he will continue to be targeted for retaliation by CCA personnel and ICE. As a result we are calling for his immediate release. Wildin is clearly not safe in this jail and retaliation will continue as long as he is detained. We are also calling for the immediate release of the 12+ other young people currently detained at Stewart and Irwin Detention Centers, as we believe they are facing similar conditions and their mental well-being is at risk.

To Wildin and all the youth in detention: We see you, we see what is happening, and we will fight until all of you are back in our classrooms and communities where you belong.

Sincerely,
Durham Association of Educators

Solidarity with Orlando!

We send our condolences and solidarity to all LGBTQ people impacted by the mass shooting in Orlando, Fl.

To the LGBTQ youth for whom this tragedy is another confirmation that the world is not made in your image; for the Muslim youth for whom this tragedy offers no room for mourning because the Islamophobic hysteria has already begun; for the LGBTQ Muslim youth for whom this tragedy feels like you must choose between different parts of who you are: we see you, we love you, we will fight for and with you, and we believe that a different world is possible.

We fight back against this anti-LGBTQ violence, against racism, and against Islamophobia. We have nothing to lose but our chains!

Announcing YOI’s New Director: Loan Tran

Dear community, 

                  I joined the Youth Organizing Institute family in 2013 as a volunteer and community supporter. The first program that I came in touch with was YOI’s Summer Freedom School–a multi-week summer camp for young people who want to fight the power and change the world. I got the witness the magic of high school students who were committing themselves to dismantling the school-to-prison-pipeline, end school re-segregation, and make schools safe for LGBTQ youth. In 3 days, I was completely transformed by the vision of YOI.

In the summer of 2014, I joined YOI staff in a part time capacity, relating to Freedom School, communications, and development work of the organization. In the past 3 years of working with YOI I have see firsthand how crucial it is to believe the experiences of young people of the world we live in. More importantly, how necessary it is to create space for youth to take control of their destinies and strategize for a world worth living in. From “Building Bridges: Teen Convening” that brings together youth leaders across different organizations and issues; to “Queernival: A Celebration of Southern Queer Youth Liberation”; to our” Solutions Not Suspensions” campaign that has pushed for restorative justice programs, ensured bilingual (Spanish-English) access in Wake County schools, to decreasing suspension rates, our commitment is always to our movement and the youth on the frontlines–without their steadfast vision, this work would not be as dynamic, creative, and powerful.

As of June, I am transitioning into the Director role at YOI, succeeding the vision and leadership of Elena Everett, who has committed her greatest love to building this organization along with original co-founder Monse Alvarez. It is with great humility that I accept this role and an honored to be part of a community whose support, love, and fighting spirit makes this work possible. I have a lot of ideas and visions I hope to share later this summer.

In the meantime, nothing would feel more congratulatory than a contribution to support YOI this summer as we enter our 7th year of the Summer Freedom School program. We are running two tracks (one in Durham, one in Raleigh), supporting our friends in Chapel Hill, and organizing an intergenerational Freedom School in Eastern NC this fall.

Our Freedom School program has always operated on a shoe-string budget and with the love of volunteers, donors, and allies who show up time and time again. Please consider making a contribution today to help us reach our goal of raising $2,500 for this summer.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this work and to lead the Youth Organizing Institute into our next period of work, we will continue to not only defend and protect the gains made by young freedom fighters but push for an even more transformative vision of how young people should be able to participate in and craft our society.

make a donation

With love and solidarity,

Loan Tran
loan@southernvision.org