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Black Lives Matter - Police brutality must end

Racism kills. Uncontrolled racist police kill. Institutional racism kills. Last week, nearly 6 years after the world witnessed the murder of Eric Garner, another Black man - George Floyd, was killed at the hand of a white police officer in the U.S.. Justice is not just about one murderer that needs to be charged, but about a system-wide change that should demilitarize police forces and shift the power.

A lot of Europeans hide behind a perceived moral superiority over the U.S. pointing fingers and deflecting the inherent racism that also exists in Europe. As FYEG we join in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and we know that it is not enough to post a hashtag without looking deeper at the systemic racism in our own region. Europe has a long history of racism, dating back to its colonial past, when powerful states like the U.K, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal built their wealth on the backs of exploited communities in Africa, South America and beyond. Europe is built on the oppression of marginalised communities and it is time for states to not only recognise the racism in our history, society, culture and institutions - but to begin to address this appropriately, through reparations and other means.

Still now, racism and police brutality against Black and People of Colour (POC)¹ in Europe is rampant, as Corona measures are most violently enforced in these marginalised communities:

The Corona crisis is only a part of the history of police brutality against Black and People of Color. These are not isolated incidents: Ali and Adil are just two of the hundreds that have lost their lives to this violence.

As individuals, in an overwhelmingly White federation, we must recognise our own privileges, educate ourselves and join in solidarity with Black and People of Colour. As young greens across Europe, we must be part of the fight to dismantle the racist systems in place. This means that we will focus long-term on fighting racism and oppression, externally and within ourselves and our own organisations. This is not and should not be an easy or comforting task. We will keep challenging and give up spaces of power as long as the system excludes marginalised communities - Black and People of Colour.

A better future:

A real democratic society is one without police brutality. People should not feel unsafe in their own communities, or endangered by law enforcement, because of the colour of their skin. We are concerned about the increasing use of surveillance and police powers, which are rooted in prejudice and violence. The system is racist, and FYEG as a youth political organisation will help work to dismantle racist structures, to be antifa, and call on our members to join.

The changes we want to see:

  • Accountability and justice - police officers are killing Black and People of Colour in broad daylight because they think they can get away with it 
  • Stronger checks in the hiring process of police officers (i.e. to ensure they are not tied to white supremacist organisations)
  • Addressing the culture of racism that exists in policing institutions and end them
  • More Black and POC police officers
  • Anti-racist training of police officers to dismantle prejudice - police are taught to use violent tactics in non-violent situations
  • End racial profiling
  • End policing of minor incidents
  • End use of tear gas and rubber bullets
  • Independent institutions to investigate police crimes, like civil society-led police review boards
  • Demilitarise the police force
  • Investment in the health and prosperity of Black and People of Colour communities.
  • End the oppression of Black and People of Colour!
  • Pandemics or crises, like the COVID-19 crisis, should not be used as a mandate for police authorities to abuse their power and violate civil rights of people who are unfairly and disproportionately targeted by authorities. 

Ways to help

We recognise that this is only a small start to doing the work that needs to be done in an attempt to take action and move beyond mere words (note: these are not ranked in any particular order of importance):

  • Donate to organisations actively fighting police violence and doing anti-racist work (or contact those that are in a position to)
  • Support bail funds and organisations providing legal help to protestors
  • Start a talking circle or anti-racist book club
  • Support businesses owned by Black and POC
  • Support grassroots Black and POC-led organisations
  • Put pressure on politicians to do more (i.e. social media, letters, emails, calls)
  • Have uncomfortable conversations about racism and colonialism with friends and family, including your grandparents "who are too old to know any better"
  • Read books and articles by Black & POC writers
  • If you post something about race (as a person of privilege), take the time and responsibility to moderate your own comments
  • Whenever you see police violence, or fear that it might happen, try to film it and contact the victim afterwards (to share that you can help as a witness). But also try to stay safe, as police is targeting people that are filming them, especially if they are using violence at the moment of filming
  • Backing not fronting the movement: anti-racist organisations should be led by Black and People of Colour. Trust their judgment and knowledge to keep everyone safe and recognise that some chants aren’t for you.
  • Question whether you are in a place to comment: have you done the work to re-learn the history of our society that is rooted in violence against Black and POC people, is this a time when it is most important for you to speak out or listen instead?
  • Engage in an anti-racist training by a Black or POC led organisation

Resources

  • Compilation of resources on ways you can help (petition, text/call, donate, resources, resources for protestors, missing people thread, map of protests)
  • Compilation of resources (articles, books, films, media, organisations, etc.) for White people and parents to deepen anti-racist work, courtesy of Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.
  • Bail funds and legal help per city (in the U.S.)
  • Compilation of resources (community bail funds, memorial funds, political education resources, organisations to put on your radar, and general advice/tips for people attending protests or using social media as an organizing tool).
  • Download our action pack with shareable social media templates summarizing our statement, listing demands and ways you can help, here.

 

 ¹ “People of color” is a term primarily used in the United States and Canada to describe any person who is not white. It does not solely refer to African-Americans; rather, it encompasses all non-white groups and emphasizes the common experiences of systemic racism.