Excerpt from the Covenant with Black America
Since before this country’s inception, black people have struggled against deeply ingrained race-based expressions of power, privilege, and exclusion. After post-Civil War Reconstruction was defeated in 1877 and the era of Jim Crow was ushered in the mid-20th century, America’s elite universities and well-respected "scientists" advanced claims of biological evidence connecting black physical features to inferior intelligence and predisposition to criminal behavior. This "evidence" further fueled the national hysteria about a growing black population and offered justification for criminalizing black men.
This Covenant with Black America represents a realization that there is a multi-headed, multi-tentacled monster out there devouring blacks who live in certain neighborhoods. Incarceration is just one aspect of this menace, but it is an overwhelmingly damaging aspect. Our job, in working to achieve fairness and equity, is to sound the alarm about the unjust criminal justice system and demand that our leaders and those in power act now to halt this destructive, unfair treatment of our brothers and sisters, especially of our children.
Together we must challenge individuals, communities, cities, counties, regions, states, and the nation to be accountable for the outcomes of the justice systems at every level of government.
-excerpt from James Bell's essay in the Covenant with Black America
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