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| Combating Discriminatory Policing
Published By:International Business Times

Black Lives Matter coalition issues first political agenda demanding slavery reparations

A coalition built on the Black Lives Matter movement has issued its first political agenda demanding reforms in the American justice system and reparations for slavery. Some 60 organisations in the Movement for Black Lives endorsed the platform calling for "black liberation" that had been forged over a year of discussions.

The agenda included six demands and 40 policy recommendations, including a reduction in military spending and a focus on protecting safe drinking water.

It also called for an end to the death penalty, decriminalisation of drug-related offences and prostitution, and the "demilitarisation" of police departments. It seeks reparations for lasting harms caused to African-Americans by slavery and investment in education, jobs and mental health programmes.

The agenda by the Movement for Black Lives came hard on the heel of the Republican and Democratic national conventions, which failed to satisfy members.

"On both sides of the aisle, the candidates have really failed to address the demands and the concerns of our people," said Marbre Stahly-Butts of the Movement for Black Lives Policy Table, which crafted the agenda.

He told the New York Times. "So this was less about this specific political moment and this election, and more about how do we actually start to plant and cultivate the seeds of transformation of this country that go beyond individual candidates."

The overarching mission of the group is to halt the "increasingly visible violence against black communities". Its agenda was issued just days before the second anniversary of the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown's death and the killing of other unarmed black men by white officers was the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform," said Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, one of the organisations that worked on the platform.

"As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable."