We write to you as children, nomads, diasporic peoples of the Global South. We represent peoples, cultures, knowledges and technologies of African, Latin American and Caribbean regions, and the US South. We write too from Atlanta—The Phoenix of the South, the Black Mecca, the South’s Gateway to the World—a city that is actively eroding the rights of its residents not unlike the systems, forces and ideas that are taking over your land, removing your people, and killing your families and neighbors. We write as people who deeply believe in addressing root causes to deep problems of violence, hate, and systemic oppression. We write as people genuinely committed to the liberation of all peoples.
As we celebrate 20 years of strategizing, community building, movement artistry, and the vision of a bold, extraordinary Black woman, Ms. Jaribu Hill, we must also recommit to defending the full spectrum of human rights. We must commit to being accountable to our communities and each other. We must recommit to revolutionizing the values that stitch together our social contract.
It’s become a common phenomenon in major urban cities like Atlanta to witness the avaricious transfer of public wealth to private hands under the guise of “development”. These thefts are branded as public goods, when in reality, they are only good for a select few who can afford to live and shop in the gentrified zones anchored to projects like the Beltline. Displacement is the name of the game for working class black residents who are not part of the vision crafted by and for white economic elites and black political elites.
In these continued times of hate, discrimination, poverty and other forms of state-sanctioned violence, what your children need from you is unabashed, unrestrained, unconditional love. Pure L.O.V.E. I’ve heard the twisted rationale from some of us that we beat, whip or otherwise wreak violence on our children to keep them in line so the authorities (the police, court or prison system) won’t get them. But let’s be frank, that is flawed and oppressive logic.
Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues the Black community faces. Black communities are unfairly burdened by the health effects of climate change, including deaths during heat waves and sickness caused by growing air pollution. Climate change issues are not currently being addressed in a fair and equitable manner. There is a lack of inclusiveness in the current climate change narrative, and the way of addressing these issues exacerbate existing inequalities. It is no surprise that communities that contribute the least to climate change, and feel the negative impacts first, worst, and longest, are seldom represented in the climate change discussion. The disproportionate and unequal impact the climate crisis has on people of color and the poor is known as the climate gap.
In every region of the United States, working people are now confronting the ravages of multiple forms of systemic oppression and structural violence. The daily, normalized denial of human needs--enforced by murderous police assaults on human psyches and bodies, families, and besieged communities--reveals the limits of what middle- and working-class residents of this country can expect under current corporate agendas. Black and Brown families anguish tearfully in the silent absences of loved ones killed by police and white supremacists bent on terror. Immigrant women and men from Mexico and Central America risk death, dismemberment, destitution, and inhumane detentions trying to escape political and economic violence in their homelands for opportunities in "El Norte."
Public schools are arguably the most important institutions to the well-being of any neighborhood, community, and society. The local school is the place where the consciousness and worldview of children are shaped, influencing them for a lifetime. It’s a place where families come together and develop meaningful social bonds. Public schools provide the means by which ordinary working class people can participate in some form of politics and share news. When home buyers or renters are looking for ways to measure the quality of a potential neighborhood, they will often gauge it by the local public school. And that’s understandable.