In an article published by CNN, Black Lives Matter activists have expanded their fight for justice to include an economic plan that will help to improve the financial lives of Black Americans. They released the proposal on Monday that came from a “consortium of more than 50 civil rights groups” and laid out a plan that will improve lives of black Americans financially, as well as provide reparations of black communities and economic justice. Patrick Mason, one of the contributors, worked on a section in the proposal that will restructure the tax code, which he says is the reason there is wealth inequality.
“The issues dealing with race and racism and racial inequality in the United States are intimately connected to the issues of wealth inequality.”
Mason also said that many tax programs such as estate taxes and capital gains taxes favor wealthier Americans, and the proposal will push for an increase on both taxes. The proposal also calls to raise corporate taxes and for an end to income caps on payroll taxes funding Social Security and unemployment.
The proposal is called “A Vision For Black Lives,” and describes their platform and demands for empowering Black people. The demands they ask for are ending the war on Black people; reparations for past and continuing harms; investments in the education, health and safety of Black people; economic justice, community control and political power. The Vision For Black Lives platform is also posted on the website.
“Black humanity and dignity requires black political will and power. In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda. We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work.”
Black Lives Matter is a movement that began to protest policemen killing black men and women due to excessive force and prejudice against Black people. Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the Corporation for Enterprise Development, says that the issues the movement protests are linked to the economy. Therefore, improving the economy for Black people might help reduce the number of black lives that are killed unnecessarily at the hands of police or otherwise. Education and wealth are also linked to crime, so the more educated and wealthy that Black people become, perhaps that will also help reduce deaths in the Black communities.
Part of the proposal released by BLM also asks that federal money that is set aside for policing and prisons should be reinvested in education, employment, and other services in black communities. The proposal calls for an end to criminalizing and dehumanizing Black youth, capital punishment, bail money, and other fees that are charged to defendants, and calls for an end to using past criminal history to determine eligibility for housing and other services.
The reparation of past and continuing harms includes giving full and free access to higher education for all Black people, including undocumented and currently and formerly incarcerated people. Reparations for slavery and racism and other forms of institutional discrimination would also help with housing and land for the black community as well as healing ongoing and mental trauma.
Richard Wallace, who is an organizer for the Worker’s Center for Racial Justice in Chicago, points out that economics is important but it should not be disconnected from the rest of the plan. Asante-Muhammad said the report was a “mix of historic proposals of what we can loosely call the Black freedom movement,” and likened the plan to the Black Panther group setting up breakfast programs after marching on Washington in 1963.
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