On August 28th, the “Black Lives Matters Ride” (BLM Ride) a national advocacy effort of #BlackLivesMatter, will bring concerned citizens from across the country to St. Louis, Missouri, as part of a national call to end state violence against Black people.
The BLM Ride, organized in the spirit of the early 1960s interstate Freedom Rides to end racial segregation, is a call to action organized by advocates based in several states in close collaboration with the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), the two lead organizations working with the Ferguson community in response to the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
“The BLM Ride will bring together concerned citizens under which Black people can unite to end state sanctioned violence both in Ferguson, but also across the United States of America. In addition, it aims to end the widespread assault on Black life that pervades every stage of law enforcement interactions; be it in custody or in our communities,” notes Darnell L. Moore, ride co-organizer.
On the issue of anti-Black state sanctioned violence, co-organizer Patrisse Cullors, states, “While Black people make up a mere 13% of the US population we make up more than a third of those killed in officer involved shootings across the country. We know that anti-Black racism in the form of vigilante violence is most often informed by law enforcement violence.”
‘The movement in Ferguson has captured not only the imagination of the nation, but the world. Now is a time that we come together for justice for Mike Brown and for all the Mike Browns across the country,” said OBS chair Montague Simmons.
As a national call to action, the BLM Ride is unifying Black people under the set of demands organized by the local organizers as well as the following national demands:
1. Justice for the family of Michael Brown and all other victims of law enforcement and vigilante violence.
2. The development of a national policy specifically aimed at redressing the systemic pattern of anti-Black law enforcement violence in the US.
3. De-militarization of law enforcement: We are demanding that the federal government discontinue its supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies across the country should liquidate their current military resources, immediately.
4. Release the names of all officers involved in killing Black people both on patrol, but also inside custody from the last 5 years onward.
5. Decrease law enforcement spending/budget by ½ by 2016, and invest that money into Black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing, and schools.
Riders will arrive in St. Louis on Saturday, August 30th, 2014, and will leave on Monday, September 1st. While there, the agenda is as follows:
•Thursday- Friday: Riders travel from destinations to St. Louis.
• Saturday-Sunday: Solidarity actions and/or community engagement efforts coordinated with OBS, MORE and others.
About BLM Ride: The “Black Life Matters Ride” is a call to action, a slogan under which Black people can unite to end state sanctioned violence both in St. Louis, but also across the United States of America. In addition, it aims to end the insidious and widespread assault on Black life that pervades every stage of law enforcement interactions; be it in custody or in our communities.
If you would like to donate to the #BlackLivesMatter Ride, please click here.