What You Need to Know About Black Lives Matter Policy Agenda
The Movement for Black Lives, otherwise known as the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, has released a manifesto clarifying their “vision of [a] world where black humanity and dignity is the reality.”
Called “A Vision for Black Lives Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice”, this plan incorporates ideas from established activist and advocacy groups to produce half a dozen core demands and 40 policy priorities:
- End the war on black people
- Reparations for past and continuing harms
- Divestment from the institutions that criminalize, cage and harm black people; and investment in the education, health and safety of black people
- Economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure our communities have collective ownership, not merely access
- Community control of the laws, institutions and policies that most impact us
- Independent black political power and black self-determination in all areas of society
According to the plan: “We reject false solutions and believe we can achieve a complete transformation of the current systems, which place profit over people and make it impossible for many of us to breathe.”
In a statement, Montague Simmons with the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) and a member of the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, said : “Our grievances and solutions extend beyond the police killing of our people; state violence includes failing schools that criminalize our children, dwindling earning opportunities, wars on our trans and queer family that deny them of their humanity, and so much more. That’s why we united, with a renewed energy and purpose, to put forth a shared vision of the world we want to live in.”
Solutions for achieving these goals include:
- Demilitarization of police departments
- End systematic attacks on black youth
- Protection for black members of the LGBTQ community
- Passage of state and federal laws addressing the impacts of slavery
- Passage of HR 40 and formation of a committee to approve reparations proposals
- “Retroactive decriminalization and immediate release of all people convicted of drug offenses, sex work-related offenses and youth offenses”
The plan also calls for an examination of the repercussions of the Jim Crow era ; the enforcement of segregation in Southern states that began just after the Reconstruction period and continued until 1965 and the signing of the Civil Rights Act by former President Lyndon Johnson.
M Adams, executive director of Freedom, Inc, said in a statement: “We recognize that not all of our collective needs and visions can be translated into policy, but we understand that policy change is one of many tactics necessary to move us towards the world we envision, a world where freedom and justice is the reality.”
In response to BLM, earlier this year Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed the Blue Lives Matter (BLM) bill into law; making this state the first across the nation protecting law enforcement and other public workers under laws intended for victims of a hate crime.
A hate crime is defined as “a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence.”
Of course, in 37 states (including Louisiana) enhanced penalties for assaulting police officers are already in place. In fact, assaulting a law enforcement officer is considered an attempt to commit battery which is punishable by jail time and fines.
However, assaulting an officer can be construed as self-defense if the cop uses “excessive force in the execution of a lawful arrest” including:
- Attacking the suspect
- Suspect believes their life is in danger or they will suffer great bodily harm via the cop
- Suspect used reasonable force to protect themselves from bodily injury
And yet, in Louisiana, should a suspect attempt to protect themselves from violent cops, they could be further charged with a hate crime.