This week’s forecast is dedicated to the black men who have been killed by police in recent weeks. Many have seen videos of the brutal shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday. The next day, video emerged of Philando Castile bleeding to death after being shot by cops in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Then there’s Antwun "Ronnie" Shumpert of Tupelo, Mississippi, who was shot after fleeing a traffic stop. Jai "Jerry" Williams was killed by police in Asheville, North Carolina on July 2. Mike Moore of Mobile, Alabama was killed on June 13.
Accounts of these deaths, like those of many black deaths at the hands of law enforcement, have varied. Even when there are soul-crushing videos to back up what witnesses say happened (videos I caution against watching, as the stories of these killings are traumatic enough), few want to believe that an officer of the law might make the wrong decision, or be driven by their own prejudice, and end a life. But it happens. Too many have been killed in situations that could have been resolved with these men still alive.
There are people looking for answers. There are people fighting for justice. These communities are trying to find resilience through resistance. We will be sharing ways you can support them in the coming week.
If there was ever a time we needed black power, black love, and black sunshine — it’s now.
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long:
We have a hailstorm of hashtags you can be a part of, each saying the names of those for whom justice is needed. #AltonSterling, #AntwunShumpert, #JerryWilliams, #MikeMoore, and #PhilandoCastile, in conjunction with #SayHisName, will help keep attention on these cases and should be used to amplify efforts from communities seeking solutions to the systemic genocide of black people.
We’re looking at black power sunshine coming to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sky-clearing calls for justice over Asheville, North Carolina, and racial injustice seen through the prism of art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Saturday, July 9 – Sunday, July 10
Asheville, North Carolina: Organize around #JusticeForJerry.
2 p.m. Saturday, July 9 and Sunday, July 10
In response to the July 2 killing of Jerry Williams by police, folks in Asheville have been putting together rallies, press conferences, and community events to demand a thorough investigation and ultimately justice for Williams and his family. This weekend there is a march and rally planned on Saturday at the Southside of Asheville as well as a healing ceremony at the river in Carrier Park on Sunday. Follow the Asheville Black Lives Matter public Facebook page for more information and updates on actions taking place in the area.
Sunday, July 10
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Stand with protesters as they demand #JusticeForAltonSterling.
4445 Plank Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70805
People in Baton Rouge want answers for the brutal killing of Alton Sterling by cops, who shot him while he was on the ground. Sunday afternoon, people are gathering at the Baton Rouge Police Department to demonstrate that they will not accept a cover-up or a failure to indict the officer who took Alton’s life. Community leaders, organizations, and individuals are welcome to attend and express their support for Alton, his family, and the justice the city needs.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Examine the injustices brought against black people through art and discussions at Arresting Patterns.
2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
701 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The African American Museum is hosting an open house for their multimedia exhibit of works from contemporary African-American artists, with live performances from local poet Jamarr Hall and singer-songwriter Abby Dobson. The works presented examine the impact of racial prejudice on individuals and communities. There will also be a panel discussion with representatives from various organizations, including the ACLU of Pennsylvania. The event is free and open to the public. It’s important to look at the struggles of black communities from a variety of angles and to use every resource we have, including art, to find real solutions.
Monday, July 11 – Friday, July 15
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Learn and build strategies to uplift the black community at the Black Lives Matter Symposium 2016.
5:30 p.m. July 11 – 8:00 p.m. July 15
1777 America Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
New Sunlight Baptist Church has organized a week-long conference on issues that concern the black community. Though this symposium has been planned for some time, recent events make it painfully clear how important it is for communities to come together. The symposium has two tracks — one designed for teens and one for adults — that explore health, crime, social justice, and more. Registration is free but advised. Come together with people from around Baton Rouge and shine some light on the path to a better future for the city’s black community.
Everywhere: Support the Movement for Black Lives policy platform.
In July, the Movement for Black Lives plans to officially release a comprehensive platform for changes to public policy. The goal is to dismantle the systems and laws that oppress black people and other communities of color, and the platform addresses prison reform and abolition, economic empowerment, universal health care, equal access to education, and more. The final version will be released later this month, but those who wish to support building new systems that are led by the people can review the draft and sign onto the platform at the M4BL website.
In a time when stories of police brutality, mass incarceration, and economic injustice are flooding black communities every day, it’s critical that we get behind work that leads us to a future where black lives not only matter but thrive.
Many of us are heavyhearted and infuriated by so much news of black people suffering and dying in this country. But we know how to organize our communities. We know what needs to change. We are a people that have survived in spite of a society that has tried to crush our spirit. To those who have been on the front lines of the struggle, thank you. You are the reason we know that one day liberation is going to shine down on all of us one day. Because whether it’s bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you.