Dear Youth Rise Texas Community,
We, like you, are feeling outrage at the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, George Floyd, David McAtee, and countless other Black lives that have been stolen by the police and vigilante individuals.
And we are clear that these murders are individual acts of terror that expose and support the white supremacist and anti-black racism that is embedded deeply in our society. In our history in the Americas, our cultures, and in the architecture of our schools, healthcare, and justice systems.
The systemic oppression and brutalization of Black communities must end, and white supremacy must be eradicated from every part of our lives, including within ourselves.
As an institution that organizes young people whose lives have been impacted by criminalization, detention, and deportation, decriminalization is at the very heart of our mission.
Defunding the police is imperative to building a world where all children of color, their parents and communities no longer experience terror at the hands of law enforcement. Likewise, our work to end policing in school calls for schools to sever their relationships with police and law enforcement and to divest from racist and punitive responses to classroom management and family engagement that make youth of color and their families targets of the U.S. state. We know that these are necessary steps needed to build the social and political power of our people.
Amid this moment of state sanction terror and violence we are all witnessing communities come together to use this moment to make real structural change. We are also seeing evidence that this moment is pivotal and unprecedented. Despite the violence and fear and the U.S. pandemic disprortionately killing Black and Brown poor people, people of conscience are risking their health in the name of justice. And while there are bright spots we cannot lose sight of the fact that ICE holds and deportations continue, including for those who are on the front lines of protests across the country.
What We Need To Do Now
In this moment there is a role for each and every one of us.
- Join organizations all over the country that are following the leadership of Black Organizations calling for the Defunding of Police. Here in Austin, we are asking that you visit the city’s online Budget Feedback page and demand that those in power to defund APD and direct money to community needs like parks, libraries, public health and recreation centers. City budgets are a reflection of the collective values of a community and is where local governments make decisions about the size and power of their police force.
- Fight White Supremacy in your own community by starting hard conversations about Anti-Blackness and Policing of Black and Brown bodies. Talk to your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors about the history and present realities of anti-black racism and Policing. We have curated some multi-lingual tools to help you have this convos .
- Learn with us on social media. In the past we haven’t done enough to be clear about the values of our staff and the organization on social media. In this moment we must use these platforms to take a clear stand in defense of Black lives. Join us in taking a public stance against White Supremacy on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- And continue to Take to the Streets and follow the leadership of local, Black organizations and to donate to bail and support funds for the protests.