“Build Black Futures”: Young Black Activists Visit Capitol Hill

Members of Black Youth Project and the National Black Justice Coalition traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers and lay out their collective vision for Black lives.

On September 14, 2016, Black millennial activists from Philadelphia, San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago and North Carolina made a trip to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers as they advocated for justice policy and budget discussions that would bring about positive changes to the lives of Black people in America.

A detailed plan of action which was created with the support of multiple social-justice organizations and community advocacy groups was presented on Wednesday. They presented their targeted goals, plans of action and demands to the lawmakers.

Even though the mainstream media is just talking about the efforts of these activists now, it isn’t something new, it has been a work in progress and the results of their labor have been noted in various cities across the country.

BYP 100 National Director Charlene Carruthers , National Public Policy Chair Janae Bonsu, and about 30 young policy influencers, wearing red, Black and green shirts reading, “Fund Black futures,” focused on the significance of issues concerning health care, education, voter registration, police funding and mass incarceration. A keystone principle of the group is to defund police departments and forward that funding to communities to help them grow.

“Over the past year, this movement has been working to translate our lived experience and collective needs into concrete policy proposals,” Bonsu said of BYP 100’s advocacy efforts.

“Today has been an amazing day. We came here because we know there is no permanent lobby for black people in America,” Carruthers said.

“We understand that citizenship for black people in America has always been tenuous and unguaranteed for our folks. We have a strategy that includes protesting and direct action and massive civil disobedience. We believe we can determine what the public policy process looks like,” she added.

“What we believe in fundamentally is that our government has misplaced priorities. That our government is investing in policing and prisons and punitive measures and filling the pockets of corporations while our communities continue to be divested from and poorly invested in. We are very clear that police departments and law-enforcement agencies on every level must be defunded and those dollars go to mental-health services for our communities and quality education,” Carruthers also said.

A recent study shows that the U.S is the world biggest jailer with 2.3 million people behind bars and over $1 trillion spent in incarceration costs.

BYP 100 and the NBJC are doing a wonderful job in positively enhancing the lives of Black people. Black politicians should show more enthusiasm and work together with these young activists in order to achieve their goals.

Source: theroot
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