Official Statement from Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, Lisa Simpson, mother of Richard Risher, and the Collective
After Tamir and Richard were murdered, when we had to bury our sons, we didn’t see ‘Black’, ‘Lives’, or ‘Matter’. Our DNA changed when our sons were murdered. It took breath out of our bodies. When y’all go home, y’all chant “Black Lives Matter!” When we go home, we miss our sons. We don’t need y’all to stand in front of us to tell our story. We need y’all to stand in back of us, and lift us up! If your agenda is not about helping our children, men, and women, then get out our fight! Enough is enough!
We released a public statement that expressed our concerns with Tamika D. Mallory, Shaun King, Benjamin Crump, Lee Merritt, Patrisse Cullors, Melina Abdullah, and the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation to stop capitalizing off our loved ones, and we call on the People to join our fight for accountability.
The mothers, families who have lost loved ones to police violence, Black grassroots organizing communities—and those who exist in proximity—are increasingly skeptical about the donors, ideologies, and political economies of “Black leadership.”
We condemn capitalism’s monetization of Black people’s death and dying through the following modes of violence: “celebrity activism,” along with fundraising without transparency. We need structured distribution of funds to Black working class families and grassroots organizations. Families of those who are killed by the police—and whose loved ones’ deaths spark mass movements—continue to navigate political misrepresentation, battle zones of police repression, homelessness, and poverty, while Black “leadership” that has not been selected by the masses flourishes through celebrity status. These families must be provided the resources to sustain themselves, their families, and their work dedicated to building community infrastructure.
The mothers, and Black people en masse, call for accountability and transparency that fuel collective organizing in support of Black families victimized by state-violence. Contradictions within our movements—within the crisis of anti-Blackness, broadly, and predatory capitalism more specifically—reduce our deaths to monetized commodities. Stop celebrity activism; stop corporate investments that support lobbyists for this norm; put an end to the political-economy’s parasitism on Black death and poverty.
After Patrisse Cullors, Shaun King, and Tamika D. Mallory reached out to Samaria Rice, requesting to meet with her, it was decided that we will accept a meeting with Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation) and Tamika D. Mallory (Until Freedom), promoting an intramural focus on the mothers and Black communities en masse. We also extend an invitation to Melina Abdullah to attend the meeting.
Da’Shaun Harrison, Dr. Joy James, and Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr. have agreed to be in attendance as a show of solidarity and as objective facilitators. This meeting will address: harm to Samaria Rice and Lisa Simpson; political education for Black liberation movements; the trajectory of community-controlled organizing; the contradictions of celebrity activism leveraged by corporate donors and government.
We request that this meeting leads to:
- Accountability to the families,
- Providing transparency for all financial reports/revenues/fundraisers connected to families who lost kin to police violence,
- Developing accessible application guidelines (with community input) for the distribution of emergency funds for families/community centers by way of the BLM Global Network,
- Curating a formal memorandum of understanding with local organizers that mandates their invitation to/approval for direct actions in their cities prior to such events that trigger militarized police violence against vulnerable communities,
- Developing an adequately-funded BLM Global network Trust Fund for Black Families that provides funds to families impacted by police terror but lacked (sufficient) civil settlements,
- Developing a charitable trust and community fund to support political prisoners; the organizing, educational, entrepreneurial, and creative efforts of Black communities; and the development of a review process that is organized at the local level,
- The BLM Global network investing in a housing trust to fund and maintain nonprofit public education “houses” (under local control) dedicated to political education and named in honor of victims of police murder/violence,
- Support for a 2022/2023 People’s Forum to develop structures to enable mass communities’ control over elite platforms; and for public-facing leadership shaped through a process of Black transformational politics adequate to confront the devastations of police violence and poverty.
This meeting is one of many calls to accountability to build power to the Black masses and return decision making back to our communities and streets.
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