BREAKING NEWS (2016) : United We Must Stand
Published by New York Urban League | 8/12/16
Town Hall Meeting – Black & Blue: “The Struggle for Justice” presented by New York Urban League and the New York Urban Young Professionals
NEW YORK (August 10, 2016) – Close to 150 community members, young professionals and civil rights organizers joined us for the August 10th Town Hall meeting “Black & Blue: The Struggle for Justice”. We came together for an action planning meeting to discuss independent oversight, unification with other organizations and community convening across demographics. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss solutions and supporting actions.
The meeting provided valuable resources for taking action, specific information on legislation and additional legal steps towards justice for all. It was a great opportunity to learn, share and connect with other concerned members of the community. The New York Urban League thanks panelists Lumumba Bandele, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund; Tamika Mallory, Justice League NY; Phil Pierre, New York Urban League Young Professionals, The Leadership Program, NYC Department of Education and L. Joy Williams, Brooklyn NAACP as well as the respondents Honorabale Kevin Parker, New York State Senator and Honorable Jumaane Williams, New York City Council. “Black & Blue: The Struggle for Justice” Town Hall meeting was moderated by Arva R. Rice, President and CEO, New York Urban League (NYUL).
“We’re here because we’ve been awakened to rage, awakened to fear, awakened to the need to fight, to vote, to post or tweet, or to boycott. But we are also here for Trevon, Rodney King, for Medgar Evars or even Emmett Till. Because Black Lives Matter is Black Power is ‘Ain’t I a Man'”, says Arva R. Rice, President and CEO, New York Urban League (NYUL) during the welcome/opening remarks.
“That’s what NYUL is about, is being able to respond to issues as they happen in real time and be able to provide a forum for individuals to not only talk and vent and have moments of rage but also to talk about solutions. It’s about ways to figure out and engage the ways in which you can be most involved. It’s about picking out the solution that’s right for you and making sure if anything you’re moved to action. That’s what this conversation is about.” adds Arva R. Rice
Knowledge and Solutions from the Black & Blue Panel:
Lumumba Bandele speaks about the history of movements particularly in NYC and how a grassroots coalition helped combat Stop and Frisk and Broken Windows policies that have hurt black people. “I am not interested in having a relationship building conversation with someone who has the ability to kill me.” – Lumumba Bandele
NY City Councilman Jumaane Williams said that young professionals are vital to this process. They are a walking anecdote to the prevailing stereotype of young black folks. City Councilman Williams said that better policing has to be part of a package of what the community needs – better housing and employment. “Send resources, not police”; “I don’t believe the system is broken. It’s operating how it’s designed to operate”, he says.
NY State Senator Kevin Parker talked about what level of government controls policing. “The President of the United States has no authority over municipal police”, says Mr. Parker. He said that you have to know the rules in order to really make change and you have to be a registered voter to sit in a jury box. “There’s been such a push to say ‘that was then, this is now,’ without the context of knowing how these movements build on each other. We have organizations, but the problem is our organizations aren’t organized,”, adds Senator Parker.
Tamika Mallory talked about the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, investing back into community and ensuring that community centers are open and functioning. Tamika also addressed the issue of boycotting. She explained the importance of NoEqualityNoEconomy.com and understanding the power we have with $1.1 Trillion of spending that we control within the African American community.”
Phil Pierre encouraged attendees to join the New York Urban League Young Professionals (NYULYP) Civic & Economics Committee. He went on to say that it’s important for Young Professionals to use their voice, specifically with the Civics & Economics committee of the NYULYPs they are charged with one, educating the people on your rights and why you exist here in America and what you’re able to do or capable of doing as a citizen. Also engaging around economics and how you hold economic power. “NYULYPs are putting our feet where our mouth is by going to Albany and talking to State Representatives around policies that are important to us”.
As representative of longstanding civil rights organization, NAACP L. Joy Williams encouraged the audience to educate them self in terms of the movements that happened before because none of this is new. She went on to say that we need to imagine what community policing looks like & have the mindset that just because something exists doesn’t mean we can’t change it. Williams invited attendees to attend their revamped “Know Your Rights” training series.
Takeaways & Action Items from Break-out Session
– Police are responding to real issues calls with 911; they just need other than arrest/shoot strategies.
– There are discrepancies between how women and men are portrayed in the media when they interact with police.
– Provide as much info as possible so young people came out of police interaction whole.
– Know your rights and how to file complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board
– Reach back as we climb. Recreate our villages.
– Understand the power that lies at the state level…only registered voters can serve on jury
“We are not at the beginning of the game; we are at the 7th inning stretch” – Victor Valentine, Dir. of Programs and Evaluations, NYUL
Published by New York Urban League | 7/19/16
New York Urban League Statement On Baton Rouge Shooting
New York, NY— In an unfortunate series of events, the New York Urban League has to express its condolences once more to the Baton Rouge community. Three officers were tragically lost on Sunday when a lone gunman opened fired killing three and wounding several others. The New York Urban League wants to unequivocally state that although there are desperate reforms needed in police accountability- violence cannot and will not ever be the means in which to achieve those ends. We stand with the rest of the civil rights community in condemning this senseless attack on innocent officers.
July has been a tumultuous month for our nation and has opened up a national dialogue on race, policing and how different communities are treated. It is up to each and every one of us to personally be moved to action. The New York Urban League has created a ten point plan for how each citizen can create change for their community.
It is our hope that the tragedies that have occurred will prompt state and federal authorities to seriously evaluate gun control and create legislation that will ensure safety for all. Violence is violence and enough is enough.
Published by New York Urban League | 7/14/16
From A Moment to A Movement: Ten Things You Can Do Post the Recent Shooting Tragedies to Keep the Momentum Alive
The country has been through an intense racial divide over the past week. The two police shootings of African American men in Minnesota and Louisiana have once again prompted conversations about the relationship between the African American community and police – in particular the excessive use of force. In times like these, it is important for the African American community to pull together so we can face this historical problem of police brutality head on. Here are ten points, the New York Urban League (NYUL) supports to sustain the momentum in the coming days:
- Come together for change
Fortunately for us there are already numerous organizations that work on African American civil rights. The goal now has to be unity and precision. Get involved with one of your local civil rights groups, for example: NYUL, NAACP, National Action Network, The New York Civil Liberties Union, Black Lives Matter, or the Justice League NYC. Contact them and find out how you can help. The NYUL also has a young professionals auxiliary group that utilizes its energy, talents and collective voice for social and economic advancement.
- Sign petitions
There are a number of petitions that seek to remedy the power and unaccountability rampant within police departments. For example, there is a movement to oust the governor of Minnesota because of his brave comments that racism contributed to the killing of Philando Castile. Sign the petition here to show your support for the governor and send a message to all governors to stand up to racism within their departments. Also, please visit the National Urban League at www.nul.org to see a list of pending legislation aimed at police reform and accountability.
- Support legislation
Legislators and Governors are the decisions makers when it comes to law enforcement. Pressuring them to support key legislation will be crucial if we are going to see meaningful change within the system. Encourage your legislator to support bills that require police officers to go through bias and race trainings, officer identifications, restrict access to dangerous firearms, require a special prosecutor in the deaths of unarmed civilians by police, and protections against unconstitutional searches and seizures. Sites that help you learn information and data about federal and local legislation include, Campaign Zero Right to Know Act and the Police Statistics and Transparency Act.
- Make your voice heard!
Be sure to join a protest and show your community that you demand change. Look up developing protests on Facebooks event page and www.wetheprotesters.org. Start a conversation with your local clergy about what they can do as a religious community to participate in the struggle.
Voting is the means in which we decide what direction our elected leaders will take. Without active and engaged voters-candidates won’t feel the need to reflect the interests of African Americans. Many civil rights organizations have voter drives to encourage higher turnouts. But it isn’t enough for you just to vote; you also need to find ways to get those within your network to become civically engaged. Marching and tweeting are great demonstrations but those efforts alone cannot sustain a movement. Supporting efforts to elect more people of color such as Higher Heights; which support black women to run for office go a long way in empowering our communities and creating the groundwork for us to make change at the highest levels.
- Support minority owned businesses
Shop at minority owned businesses, invest in minority owned startups, donate to minority scholarships. These efforts will create solidarity and show opponents that there is a financial cost to inequality. For example, Official Black Wall Street is a digital platform and directory highlighting black owned businesses and black entrepreneurs.
- Stay informed
Many of the injustices we see perpetrated against people of color occur because they are not involved when decision makers are enacting policy that affects their communities. Knowing your congressman or woman, visiting your community board, local police precinct council and participating in small ways-will increase your ability to influence the direction of your locality.
- Know your rights
Dealing with police can be a very harrowing experience. Learning what to say, how to act, and what rights you are entitled to can be the difference between becoming a statistic and getting your day in court. The Civilian Complaint Review Board and the National Police Accountability Project do great training exercises on civilian/police encounters.
- Stay involved
Don’t let this be just another passing hashtag. Be accountable, make this your mission, own it and set a goal to engage every month. Change won’t happen unless your presence is felt. Join. Mentor. Donate. Serve.
- Be faithful
For 100 years for African Americans have struggled for equal opportunity. Many were hung, indentured, falsely accused, and sent out of the country-so we could finally have some semblance of equality. There are going to be more shootings, more false arrests, and pushback from the status quote. But it’s imperative that we have the same faith and resolve as our forebears when addressing the systemic inequality, we have faced for so many generations.
Published by National Urban League | 7.8.16
National Urban League: Dallas Police Shootings “Horrific”
NEW YORK (July 8, 2016) — National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial today issued the following statement in regard to the deadly violence against police officers in Dallas:
“Like all Americans, we in the Urban League Movement are horrified by the fatal shootings of five police officers in Dallas. The violence in our streets is a crisis of epidemic proportions, and we must come together as a nation to end it.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the slain officers and those who were wounded and may be fighting for their lives at this moment. We honor the sacrifices that first responders make and the risk at which they put themselves, and we pray every day for their safety.
“I call upon our elected officials, community leaders and every American to dedicate ourselves to ending gun violence and healing the rifts between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
Published by National Urban League | 7.6.16
Urban League Movement Supports Peaceful Protest, Thorough Investigation in Baton Rouge:
NEW ORLEANS (July 6, 2016) — As Louisiana and the nation grieve the death of Alton Sterling, the National Urban League and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans today joined Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in calling for a thorough investigation of his shooting by Baton Rouge Police, and a comprehensive evaluation of police training and policies.
“As these killings continue to shock the conscience of Louisianans and the nation, we look forward to the day when hastiness on behalf of police, poor training of police and aggression on behalf of police are behind us,” Urban League of Greater New Orleans President and CEO Erika McConduit-Diggs said. “The Baton Rouge community is tight-knit, a city whose residents genuinely care about their neighbors. This strong sense of community can be seen by the outpouring of local support. As this altercation highlights, there is still work to be done to bring the community closer together and build a more trusting relationship between its citizenry and those sworn to protect them.”
“Louisiana has had its fair share of national tragedies and continues to march toward the north star of equality,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “‘Union, Justice, and Confidence’ is the state motto and those words are to be made ever more significant in the coming weeks as investigations reveal more. The National Urban League stands behind ULGNO as it continues to be an active member of the community striving to make each word more potent by addressing the needs of South Louisiana; bringing people together, advocating for due process and equitable treatment, and building confidence in our governance through policy.”
McConduit-Diggs and Morial stressed that coordination among local leaders, friends and neighbors and law enforcement is critically important in these trying times. “Our thoughts and prayers will be with the Sterling family as they now must make progress without the support of their patriarch,” McConduit-Diggs said. “In the spirit of solidarity with the peaceful protest in the Louisiana Capitol, we support the efforts of due process in the service of justice for the Sterling family and applaud the U.S. Department of Justice for their swift response to fully investigate this matter. As the investigation unfolds, we stress the importance of transparency and keeping the community informed and abreast of all findings.”
Morial added, “The Urban League movement focuses to build inclusive communities that not only recognize African American humanity, but maximize the individual and collective contributions of all in our society. As we work to dismantle systems that humiliate, unjustly murder and continuously devalue black lives in America, our faith and works will be with the community as we strive to create sustainable change and improve upon the quality of life in our region and our nation.”
Published by New York Urban League | 6.14.16
New York Urban League Statement on Orlando Shooting:
New York, New York (June 14, 2016) — On behalf of the entire New York Urban League, it is with utter shock and great sadness that I offer my most heartfelt support to the victims and families of the recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. We grieve with the rest of the nation, outraged by this senseless attack against the LGBTQ community and our neighbors to the South. Hate crimes such as these call for all of us to be even more vigilant in our work to end discrimination as well as the escalating gun violence plaguing our country.