Image credit: Victor Ukatu
“Although it will be a monumental task, the past is replete with examples of ordinary people working together to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. History is a guide to a better future and demonstrates that we can become a better society ─ but only if we collectively demand it from each other and from the institutions responsible for administering justice.”
- Secretary Lonnie Bunch
Justice and Equity for Black People in the United States of America
An open letter by Christopher S. Moore, Ph.D.
Hello, you are viewing this letter because you are a colleague at the Center for Astrophysics.
As cities have burned across the United States of America over the past few days it has highlighted the deep rooted issues in the United States of America. I do not speak on behalf of Black People in the United States of America, only as a Black Person in the United States of America.
If you do not actively and consistently assist, advocate, or support Black People and Black Communities in your regular activities then you are part of the problem.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
You may ask next, "Where do I start?". Well, the first step is education. African American descendants of slaves have generated over Trillion dollars (conservative estimates) in wealth to the American Colonies and the United States since the first documented slaves were brought to the continent around 1619 (article link). Restitution, reperations (not just monetary) and reconcilliation was never fully achived even after the so-called abolishment of slavery with the 13th Amendment (video link) after the U.S. Civil War. The Reconstruction Era (video link) was supposed to accomplish this, but America broke the promise to Black America.
Hence, the frustration seen in the streets of these cities is not new, has continually been brewing for decades, and is a result of perpetual discrimination in many aspects of the American society. including but not limited to:
A. Financial Industry and Wealth (video link and study link) - including housing (video link), banking (video link and article link), and a cumulative "Black Tax" (video link and book link) which is a starting estimate to any monetary reparation.
These information links are all introductory and by no means equivalent to the exhaustive studies, articles, and investigations that have been conducted. The intent is to spark interest in learning more and then taking action. All of these areas need to be repaired for true reconciliation to occur. Thus, there have been, are, and will be, numerous opportunities for you to develop, fund, volunteer your time, and contribute resources for programs, initiatives, and events that are for Black People and the Black Community. The choice is up to you to pick which ways you want to contribute, but pick some and work to Make America Great (M.A.G) for the FIRST time!
Below is a living list of resources and ways you can help out that we will update throughout the year. If you have any questions, would like to add something to this list, or would like to discuss one of the items on this list, please get in touch with the EIJC facilitators.
The links listed below in bold are from the astronomy, Harvard or Smithsonian communities.
Ways You Can Support Financially
Support Black-Owned Businesses and Artists Around Boston!
Boston Beat is a website dedicated to supporting and highlighting Black-owned businesses and local artists in the Greater Boston Area. In addition to maintaining lists of Black-owned businesses around Boston, including restaurants and retail, we provide the latest news on artist events and new releases.
The Bail Project
A non-profit aimed at disrupting mass incarceration and combating racial and economic disparities in the bail system. https://bailproject.org/
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. https://www.naacpldf.org/
Black Lives Matter Movement
BLM is an organization founded in 2013 whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes. https://blacklivesmatter.com/
Black Visions Collective
Organization dedicated to enacting local, strategic campaigns to empower black communities in the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota. https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
Reclaim The Block
Organization based in Minneapolis dedicated to redirecting funds towards promoting community-led safety initiatives in order to reduce reliance on police departments. https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/
Donations to Campaign Zero support the analysis of policing practices across the country, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns, and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide. https://www.joincampaignzero.org/
Bail funds nationwide: https://bailfunds.github.io/