The barbaric murders of Black people have again risen to national attention, although this has been a relentless and centuries-long outrage in the U.S. In this moment we are grieving the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, David McAtee, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and so many more people whose names we will never know.
Corporate Accountability stands with people around the country who are rising up in anger and anguish in response to the taking of these precious lives, and condemn the brutally repressive tactics being used to silence peaceful protest. But more than that, we know we must be part of the work to fundamentally change racist, violent, and brutal systems. These systems devalue and denigrate the lives and souls of Black people. They perpetuate the enduring and devastating falsehood that Black people pose an inherent threat to others, especially white people. And they enable these kinds of murders to continue unchecked.
We must honestly face that our society has constructed an elaborate system of legal, economic, and social codes that perpetuate systemic racism, rooted in the barbarism of our collective history of genocide, enslavement, and Apartheid. And that people, especially white people, benefit from this system.
As an organization dedicated to confronting some of the most powerful entities in the world, we know that corporate power perpetuates and exploits systemic racism for profit. For example, the private prison industry monetizes the subjugation and control of Black and brown bodies. In fact it bestows huge financial rewards to such corporations and their executives. But it’s wider than that. Our retirement funds and municipal budgets, for example, are often dependent on profits rooted in such systemically racialized imprisonment. And in much of our everyday lives, the bitter fruits of mass incarceration even show up as part of the supply chain that gives us our food, clothing, and our transportation. Even something as commonplace as headphones are part of this lifecycle.
The continued murder, imprisonment, rape, starvation, and destitution of Black, brown, and Indigenous people shows us that passive solidarity, of crying, “Enough!” is not enough.
To realize the systemic change we need, we as individuals must recognize our own role in collective mass denial. This mass denial allows us to live in a society where people of color today are negatively and disproportionately impacted by almost every societal measurement of wellbeing. In health, education, poverty, housing, state sanctioned violence, and by a myriad of other indicators of basic wellness, this is simply true.
And white people must — without pausing — actively follow the direction of Black, brown, and Indigenous voices. They must join in the work of building a world where the economic, cultural, political, and social structures that reinforce and perpetuate systemic and institutional racism, however subtle, are deliberately dismantled.
It is not enough for white people to cry, “Enough!” For too long, too many have applauded from the sidelines as Black, brown, and Indigenous communities have resisted their own degradation. For too long, too many have also privately congratulated themselves on being “woke” and in solidarity with the struggle to dismantle systemic racism, but have fallen short in actively challenging the roots of the privilege they enjoy but are denied to others. The continued murder, imprisonment, rape, starvation, and destitution of Black, brown, and Indigenous people shows us that passive solidarity, of crying, “Enough!” is not enough.
Corporate Accountability is a member-powered organization where individual mobilization as a part of collective action has led time and again to winning profound change. This change has been won against powerful corporate adversaries who once seemed insurmountable, whether it is Big Polluters or Big Tobacco. We understand that direct action by people is a powerful and effective tool in changing the public climate.
That’s why, today, we are calling on our members and everyone who is outraged and heartbroken by the murder of Black people and the ongoing impacts of systemic racism to take action. We ask you to join the Movement for Black Lives in a national day of action on Friday, June 5, and to uplift their demands for systemic change.
And, we must also continue this work in an ongoing and sustained way. Here are some simple but strategic acts that you can engage in, especially those who have white privilege and economic privilege:
- Organize a sustained letter writing campaign to local media to demand accountability that engages your family and friends.
- Directly confront your policy makers to demand structural policy change—including prioritizing our schools, healthcare, economic empowerment, and elderly ahead of police budgets.
- Refuse to buy from corporations that profit from prison labor, or advertises on media and platforms that passively as well as actively promotes hate.
- Have the difficult conversations with families, friends, and neighbors, and get them to also engage in action.
Additionally, you can also participate and support — with your money and time — organizations campaigning for justice and liberation in the ways their conveners ask:
The Movement for Black Lives:
Organizing around George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery:
Racial justice and Wall Street Accountability:
Racial justice and climate justice:
- The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
- The Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice demands for a just post-COVID-19 transition
- Indigenous Environmental Network
The Flint water crisis:
Dismantling mass incarceration and police impunity:
- MPD 150
- National Police Accountability Project of the National Lawyers Guild
- Reclaim the Block
- Worth Rises
Racial justice through worker dignity:
- Fight for $15
- Food Chain Workers Alliance
- Matahari Women Workers’ Center
- The National Domestic Workers Alliance
- One Fair Wage
Dismantling white supremacy by those who are white:
Confronting and dismantling the structures of white supremacy, privilege, and power is a way to ensure our collective liberation from the barbarity of racism. And it is the way we can all reclaim for each other the wealth inherent in our common humanity. We are committed to this work and we hope you will join us in building a better world, together.