We’re excited for what lies ahead this year for Black History Month and we’re grounding our celebration in learning from the past and recognizing the Black leaders of today leading the movement for justice and equity.
At FWD.us, we seek to end mass incarceration and eliminate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, while expanding opportunities for people and families harmed by this system and building a new humane, sustainable immigration system that treats people with dignity, starting with a pathway to citizenship.
Throughout the month, we at FWD.us will use this opportunity to highlight how Black leaders have always led the way to fight for justice and freedom. We’ll highlight leaders today, who are fighting alongside their communities to transform our long failed criminal justice and immigration systems, and we’ll be supporting Black-led organizations at the forefront of this ongoing work.
Our discriminatory criminal justice and immigration systems inflict the deepest of harms on Black, Brown and indigenous people daily. The current mass incarceration crisis that emerged in part from prior systems of anti-Black structural racism—be it the enslavement of twelve generations of Black people or the subsequent nine decades of Jim Crow apartheid—is a modern example of institutions with deeply-entrenched racist foundations that continue to hurt Black families and communities. This discrimination and disparate impact exists today, at every level of our criminal justice system—and our immigration system as well in the treatment of Black immigrants and asylum seekers—from discriminatory dress codes, to school suspensions, to robbing Black women seeking asylum of health care choices, to extreme sentences that send Black people to prisons for decades at rates drastically outpacing white people. The racist, deadly insurrection at the Capitol laid bare once again how America does and does not deploy state force, violence, expulsion and incarceration.
The last year has seen history made. Black people led and mobilized the incredibly emotional uprisings against anti-Black police violence, building upon a long history of freedom fighting and leading the charge to build the America that must be—an America that values the lives of Black people.
This fight is ultimately the fundamental American question: against whom is state control and violence wielded, who may operate with impunity, who really counts as American, and to whom does this country belong?
We celebrate the incredible Black leadership today and throughout our history, in the fight against mass incarceration and for the humane treatment of all people, and in the defining project to fulfill America’s promise as a truly inclusive, just and free multi-racial democracy.