Starting off the second week of SGPA’s Black History Month series: What’s at the Roots?, we talked about excessive force with Trae from the Black Action Coalition. This blog is a summary of that conversation and provides some additional statistics and ways you can get involved and learn more about excessive force. More information about the Black Action Coalition can be found on their Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter. Trae can be found on Instagram at traee_bae.

The recording of this livestream can be found on our Instagram page.

Who is Black Action Coalition?

The Black Action Coalition (BAC) was founded with the vision of Black liberation, Indigenous sovereignty, and holding full police accountability.

Every day they highlight an issue, person, or achievement on their Twitter and share information on how to get involved and honor those who have been killed.

Their demands are:

1. Hold the police accountable.

2. Reallocate SPD's budget.

3. Stop criminalizing youth.

4. Actually protect and serve everyone.

5. Protect, not attack, our right to protest.

You can find more information about these demands at BAC’s website

The BLM Movement at Large

Trae shares her own life experiences and how they have shown her that the police do the opposite of protecting and serving her and the Black community. This relationship ultimately led Trae to become an activist and fight to make a change in police brutality and accountability.

Trae and Braxton talked about how Black men have been and continue to be demonized. Black men are seen as aggressive due to stereotypes that too many white people continue to uphold. Black women are also falsely viewed as aggressive or irrational. People in power are consistently perpetuating these inaccurate beliefs leading them to deny or ignore what Black communities say. The conversations about race and racism and how to change it have to include Black people, not just white people who can performatively listen. Trae reminded us to not let this movement center white fragility, and to focus on uplifting all voices.

Being anti-racist is not about a black square on Instagram or going to one protest over the summer. Being anti-racist requires continually educating yourself to eliminate your own racial biases. It means putting in the work to change the systems maintaining inequalities. It is a responsibility to sit with the uncomfortable, understand the mistakes you have made, and move forward on a better foot. Being anti-racist can not be done without listening to those around you who have different life experiences. Everyone has unlearning to do, and everyone has a chance to learn from and atone their mistakes. This is something we all must do together.

Trae asks us “What are you doing now? Where were you over the summer when these issues were all over the media versus where are you now when the media has moved on?” If you needed a sign to rejoin this movement, this is it. This is not a trend - there are lives at stake and whole communities being neglected. These are issues that have been a part of the United States since it’s foundation, and performative action will not change that - this is a long-term movement.

What can you do?

  • If you are able, find protests in your area and show up including BAC’s marches.
  • Volunteer for organizations working to make a change.
  • Engage in thoughtful conversations with those around you. Stand up to racism you see in your families, call them out on their rhetoric and their microaggressions and teach them about the effects of their words, their thoughts, and their actions.
  • Share content. Tell people about groups you know working to make a change, share resources, and talk to them about what you’re learning.
  • Educate yourself, watching these live streams is a great way to start, but keep going, read books, watch movies, talk to people around you. If you’re white, listen, sit down and listen to the lived experiences of people around you, support people and don’t center yourself. Be a proper ally.
  • Donate however you can, if you can donate money, do so, if you can donate time, that’s just as valuable.
  • Remember that these issues are intersectional and remember who we are out here for. Remember those who we have lost and fight for them and for those who are still here.