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07/24/2020 | Justice Transformation

Justice Transformation: CPD Network Join Uprisings with Calls to Defund Police

Across the country, local governments are beginning to reimagine and redefine what public safety looks like in our society. Through Local Progress—a CPD project and movement of local elected officials advancing a racial and economic justice agenda through all levels of local government—our team is working directly with local elected officials. In the last month, the Baltimore City Council approved $22.4 million in cuts to the police department budget, the Portland City Council is on track to shift $4.8 million from police to a new community-based street response program, and the Denver School Board and the Minneapolis School Board voted to end their contract with their local police departments. All the while, CPD affiliates are creating the conditions necessary for winning change by catalyzing people into direct action to defund police, remove police from our schools and invest in communities. 

And when the Movement for Black Lives put out a call ahead of Juneteenth to honor Black freedom and resistance by taking to the streets, CPD affiliates and staff joined millions of people around the country for a weekend of action in defense of Black life. Nearly half of CPD’s staff stepped into key roles to support these efforts, from designing turn out scripts, sending thousands of turn out texts, creating popular education learning communities, moving grants to Black-led affiliates on the frontlines around the country, and getting our message out via the media, to coordinating direct actions. And from North Carolina to Arkansas, Maine to Nevada, 34 CPD Network affiliates led beautiful and powerful actions with calls to defund police, invest in black communities, and for Trump to resign. 

Action NC
Action NC participated in the Juneteenth Youth Experience with other local Charlotte organizations. They highlighted investing in Black youth, including free food, live music and performances. Action NC also held a Juneteenth virtual event to discuss Black history and highlight the importance of this moment in history.

Action Now Institute
Action Now occupied the corner of 63rd & Halsted “Englewood” and worked to uplift their Black community. They called for all elected officials to work on their behalf. They fed the community, gave away care packages, drummed in the spirit of ancestors and called for the mayor to put Black people first.

Arkansas Community Organizations (ACO)
ACO and other organizations in Little Rock marched from MacArthur Park, where the city had removed a confederate statue a day earlier, to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center which includes a museum that celebrates the lives of Black people in Arkansas.

CASA supported the Washington, D.C. action led by SPACES, they showed up in solidarity with the demands of M4BL. CASA PA also supported actions in York, PA and Baltimore, MD to defund the police and invest in community solutions.

Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ)
CCJ held a legislative town hall with
participation from their state senator and three state house members. The young black leaders they have been supporting all asked them questions around criminal and racial justice. All of the legislators committed to taking action and CCJ’s new, young leaders are excited to push them to be accountable to those commitments. CCJ also supported them in organizing a BLM march and rally in Canonsburg, PA. There were about 350 people who attended. This is one of the largest actions in this town for at least a decade. The last action that weekend was a BLM picket in Waynesburg, PA where about 70 people showed up. 

Center on Policy Initiatives
Staff actively supported other actions locally and built support for their ongoing county-level budget work in California.

Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH)
CUFFH Action played a role in supporting the Celebrating Black Life event on Juneteenth in NYC Foley Square. They had a youth organizer named Asaur Burke join then as the first speaker to talk about his experience with NYPD in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and also demanding to #DefundThePolice in front of Speaker Corey Johnson's residence. There was a mural painted to pay respect to the Black lives lost and a band to remind us that revolution is joyful.

Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO)
The day after Juneteenth, CCO held a day of action in Kansas City to honor the holiday and to consider the ways in which society must be transformed. CCO wants to ensure that there will never again be a question of whether Black Lives Matter and that this fight for equality, dignity, and full freedom will finally be realized in Kansas City and throughout the nation.

Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement (DelACA)
DelACA spent much of the Juneteenth week in negotiations to get charges dropped on protests from a couple of weeks prior and ultimately won. DelACA was then asked by the Attorney General to help train police on how to interact with protesters and started work with protesters to understand how to properly plan protests and civil disobedience. The organization also began working on a youth and adult re-education program to help build power in Black and Brown communities as well as poor white communities. 

Detroit Action
Detroit Action held a Juneteenth Tele-Town Hall with guest speakers and a dynamic presentation on the history of Juneteenth.

Flint Rising 
Flint Rising helped coordinate a socially-distant motorcade that stretched for more than a mile to uplift Juneteenth, demand reparations for water warriors, and call for investments in Black communities. 

Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT)
Since their establishment in 2018, LIT has been advocating tirelessly for the decriminalization of Black and Brown youth in Milwaukee Public Schools. LIT has mobilized hundreds of students to share their stories, take direct action and demand an investment into their success. On June 18th, LIT surpassed their previous biggest victory and succeeded in terminating all contracts between MPS and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Maine People's Alliance (MPA)
MPA staff and volunteer leaders have worked to support the incredible organizing that has been happening across Maine, led largely by young Black Mainers, in response to George Floyd’s murder. In Lewiston, MPA organizer Mohamed Ali Ibrahim worked to provide support to Shukri Abdirahman, one of the organizers of a rally that drew nearly 1,000 people to the city. Local members and staff led a de-escalation team for the event. MPA Legislative Director Mohamed Nur joined a webinar for young Black leaders organized by Maine Youth Network to talk about opportunities for advancing racial justice priorities in the Maine legislature. MPA loaned staff to the national campaign working to organize coordinated events on Juneteenth. Additionally, MPA organizer Gen Lysen organized a Zoom training on direct action and de-escalation tactics that was attended by 40 people.

Make the Road Nevada (MRNV)
Through unity and outreach with local partners, supporting Black-led actions, Juneteenth was not just a day, it was an action-filled week all leading up to a day filled with love and celebration! There were over 200 people at the Family BBQ on Juneteenth MRNV organized, and their staff played a critical role in pulling off the event, working behind the scenes to support the leadership of Black allies. 

Make the Road New York (MRNY)
MRNY participated in the Urban Youth Collaborative’s (UYC) virtual and in-person action on Juneteenth which centered policing issues. Members of their Youth Power project and the Parents in Action committee joined in to ask to defund NYPD.

Make the Road Pennsylvania (MRPA)
MRPA led three actions during the week of Juneteenth. They led a protest and march on Juneteenth to #DefundThePolice in Philly. They also held two more actions over the weekend on Saturday demanding to defund the police and invest in Black communities.

Maryland Communities United 
The Baltimore Juneteenth Freedom Fest took place on Friday, June 19 starting with a march against police brutality from PennNorth (location in middle of Baltimore's 2015 uprising) and ending with a rally at Druid Hill Park, featuring youth poets, entertainers and speakers. The event was live streamed on Facebook and Instagram. Black-owned vendors joined us in Druid Hill Park, volunteers helped with the event and donated money for food, water and rental of a flatbed truck and sound equipment. 

New Florida Majority (NFM)
NFM collaborated with groups across the state to hold events all over Florida. Some of their events included a Defund the Police Juneteenth Rally in Fort Lauderdale, and a Melanin Mama’s Second Line March in Jacksonville to celebrate Black women, Black freedom, Black excellence and Black liberation.

New Virginia Majority (NVM)
NVM participated in the "Speak Out in Defense of Black Lives" event in Virginia. This was a virtual rally held by organizations in Virginia which included music, calls to action, and personal stories and testimonies about what solidarity in Defense of Black Lives means at the moment.

New York Communities for Change (NYCC)
NYCC supported many efforts on the week of Juneteenth. They marched to State Senator Todd Kaminsky’s office because he has taken over $100k from police unions and has been a barrier to passing criminal legal system reform. They also supported a Unity March and had members attend the Celebration of Black Life #DefundThePolice March in NYC.

Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC)
OOC held a day of action on Juneteenth at the Cincinnati Police Departments’ shooting range. Community leaders led the crowd through protest and a mobile march where residents shared their stories and testimonies. Protestors then drove from the range to a nearby basketball court, where refreshments were served.

One Pennsylvania (OnePA)
In the lead up to Juneteenth OnePA hosted popular education meetings with their members about the holiday and the demands. On June 20, One PA participated in the Say Her Name march in West Philadelphia to demand justice for Black women and femmes who are murdered and abused and walking through this world without the protections they deserve, specifically lifting up Remmie Fells, a Black Trans woman who was found murdered in Philly the week before. On Monday, June 22 One PA hosted a rally to demand #policefreeschools in Pittsburgh with about 275-300 folks in attendance.

Organization United for Respect (OUR)
OUR amplified the M4BL demands on the social media platform, and organized to turn folks in their network out to actions within their cities across the country.

Organize Florida (OFL)
The ENTIRE weekend was amazing with Juneteenth events for OFL. Throughout all our events and the state, we had thousands of folks show up (and show out). This was in deep collaboration with other groups as well.

Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLE)
OLE worked with Building Power for Black NM and the All African Peoples’ Revolution Party to lift up the events they had planned. They also sent out an email blast with the demands and lifted up both the M4BL events and local events.

Our Future West Virginia (OFWV)
Members of OFWV gathered in Charleston on Magic Island to celebrate their ancestors' liberation by calling for accountability and action from city leaders. Kanawha County youth spoke about Keep Us Safe (WV's 5-point plan) and to call for Mayor Goodwin's cooperation in the community's fight for true and complete liberation. OFWV also sent a group of organizers to the SPACES in Action DC protest to support and speak on the need for liberation.

Rights and Democracy
200 people marched through downtown Keene, NH to honor the history of Juneteenth. Organizers from Rights and Democracy have made several demands, including a call for Trump to resign, for the local government to divest from police departments, and to invest into social programs, housing, and education. The protest was described as peaceful and safe.

Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACES)
SPACES joined with other community based organizations to coordinate an action on the Trump Hotel. The action called for the Trump Hotel to pay for the MPD officers and sergeants guarding the building, as well as the use of police cars. An invoice was created and delivered to the hotel manager. The more than $4 million of taxpayer funds would be better used in community programs that benefit the low income families that live in the DC. 

Step Up Louisiana
Step Up Louisiana led "The Black Joy Experience" on Juneteenth by acknowledging the contributions of Black Americans to the social, economic, and political well being of the great state of Louisiana. They also held an event that weekend demanding to defund the police, invest in Black communities and demand the resignation of Donald Trump.

Sunflower Community Action
Sunflower Community Action held a day of celebration in Kansas. In a joint action, Sunflower celebrated the history of Juneteenth while also celebrating the Supreme Court's most recent decision to uphold the DACA program.

Workers Defense Project/ Action Fund (WDP)
The Workers Defense Project worked to support several actions on Juneteenth across the state of Texas. WDP supported actions led by local leaders on the ground (and online) in Austin, Houston, and Dallas.

Working Washington
Working Washington supported and celebrated Juneteenth - they joined King County Equity Now Coalition to march in solidarity. This included a black graduation procession, a teach in, singers, dancers, performances and more.