Pushing Limits

Movement for Black Lives, Platform and Critique

Movement for Black Lives photoGuest: Vilissa Thompson of Ramp Your Voice

The Movement For Black Lives posted their incredible Vision 4 Black Lives Platform in late July. As one could expect, it is most thorough in issues related to police violence and incarceration in the black community, including demilitarization of the police and an end to the bail system. But, it draws a much wider net to encompass many of the core issues that make Black lives difficult including reparations, investment and divestment, economic justice, community control, and political power.

Developed in a year-long process that engaged at least 50 black-led organizations and hundreds of individuals, the platform contains 30+ policy briefs with information about whether legislation can happen at the local, state or federal level, links to groups already working on related projects, and resources including model legislation and talking points.

For any movement or organization, a document like this represents a major achievement.

Vilissa Thompson of "Ramp Your Voice"
Vilissa Thompson of “Ramp Your Voice”

Now, for the critique.

In the third paragraph the platform says it believes “in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people,” including the differently abled (sic).

Yet, in the over 85 pages of the platform, the word “disability” or “differently abled” is mentioned only six times and the insights of the Disability Justice Movement are missing from the document throughout.

The erasure of Black people with disabilities is particularly shocking, given the large number of police killings and harassment of Black people with disabilities. Black people with mental disabilities are particularly at risk of death at the hands of police, yet their lives are invisible in this document.

Today, we read some of this remarkable “Vision 4 Black Lives” Platform out loud: The Introduction and, from the Reparations Demand, the proposal for a guaranteed livable minimum income for all Black people.

Then, we talk to Vilissa Thompson who will spell out what the Black Lives Matter organizations missed by excluding the insights of Black disability justice activists.

Adrienne Lauby hosts.
Reading by Shelley Berman, Mark Romoser and Adrienne Lauby

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