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

To read the rest of this essay, please click here to buy the book.

Organizations Advocating For Change

Grassroots Leadership

Grassroots Leadership is a southern-based national
organization that works to defend democracy, enhance the public good and stop the erosion of the public sphere.

Grassroots Leadership's goal is to put an end to abuses of justice and the public trust by working to abolish for-profit private prisons. As the statement of principles for the campaign reads: "For-profit private prisons, jails and detention centers have no place in a democratic society.” Profiteering from the imprisonment of human beings compromises public safety and corrupts justice. In the spirit of democracy and accountability, we call for an end to all incarceration for profit."

Find out more about Grassroots Leadership

Other organizations
We will continue to add organizations, publications, and other resources to this list.

Making Justice a Reality for Those Farthest from its Reach

The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem is a non-profit model public law office whose dedicated staff is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation to inner city residents in Upper Manhattan. We are known internationally as the lead innovator in community-based, client-centered public defense practice. We involve civil and criminal attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals, and college and law school interns in the aggressive defense of our clients. We are dedicated to our mission -- to make justice a reality for those farthest from its reach.

Find out more about Neighborhood Defender Service

The Jamestown Project
Healthcare and Well-Being
Criminal Justice
Police Accountability
Affordable Neighborhoods
Rural Development
Economic Prosperity
Environmental Justice
Digital Divide
Advocating for Change
Youth Call To Action
Plan A Town Hall Meeting
Covenant Curricula
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