…think: once, a white girl
was kidnapped & that’s the Trojan war.
later, up the block, Troy got shot
& that was Tuesday. are we not worthy
of a city of ash? of 1000 ships...
launched because we are missed?”
from "not an elegy for Mike Brown"
A poem by danez smith.
Smith, Danez (lines 19–27). “not an elegy for Mike Brown.” 2014. Split This Rock,
Accessed 23 Jun 2020.
Daily Kos moves in solidarity with the Black community across the country and around the world in demanding an end to the murders of Black people at the hands of police and white supremacist vigilantes.
At Daily Kos, the Equity Council works to build a better organization and community by focusing on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Kos Media. The Equity Council issues this statement as a commitment to these ideals, and to encourage Daily Kos to take action internally and externally to support the movement:
We unequivocally condemn police brutality, state-sanctioned violence, and the use of militarized force against protestors. We also denounce curfews, which have been used as a tool to arrest thousands of civilians, including journalists and essential workers. This continues a long history of flagrant abuse of power by police departments to maintain control over Black and brown communities and those who speak up against police violence.
The protests happening in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and countries around the world are not a sudden, unprovoked event, but the most recent flashpoint of a worldwide movement against racist, state-sanctioned violence at the hands of police.
This country was founded on the notion of racism. The fundamental infrastructure of the United States has always valued white lives over the lives of Black, Indigenous, and other persons of color. This is not solely a historical fact, but a systemic problem: America idolizes wealth, civility, whiteness, and the status quo. When we ignore the implicit racism in our societal structure, we enable this oppression to continue unchecked. When white America chooses not to condemn—or is simply silent about—racist violence, they are complicit in upholding a white supremacist system. This white supremacist system continues to exact an unbearable toll on Black communities every day, by exploiting Black labor and taking away Black people’s right to live safely and free of fear.
As we join others in outrage at the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Rayshard Brooks, Nina Pop, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’mie” Mills, and thousands of other Black lives that were cut short by police brutality, we simultaneously recognize the physical, mental, and emotional tolls that state-sanctioned violence and systemic racism exact on Black people every day. We also remember Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Natasha McKenna, Elijah McClain, Botham Jean, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Muhlaysia Booker, and countless other Black people, including Black trans women, whose deaths are often forgotten.
We stand with the many organizations and individuals calling to defund the police. We have seen time and time again that superficial reforms don’t work; the police continue to break the laws every day when they murder and injure Black and brown people. In addition, many of these suggestions, such as body cameras and anti-bias training, actually increase the police’s budget when we should be working toward eliminating their funding.
History has shown us we cannot spend our way toward better police; to eventually abolish the police, we must first demand fewer police and fewer police resources.
In addition, many of the reforms being called for are already in place in several cities, such as New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago, so we know that’s not enough to stop the police, and policing’s history is inherently anti-Black and completely racist: its roots are linked to the capture of those escaping slavery and the enforcement of Black Codes. It seems clear that one of the bare minimum demands from those on the street and the organizers behind many of these protests is a radical decrease in police budgets. This is a particularly urgent question as city purse strings tighten in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. Every city government in the U.S. faces a stark choice: whether to fund social services or to fund policing.
We will be sharing some resources that imagine a world that redistributes police funding to community resources and breaks down our current police organizations in order to rebuild something that supports our communities as opposed to trying to destroy them. We hope you will read them and start to imagine this world, too, and then help us take action to make it possible.
Progressives supposedly believe in anti-racism, but we haven’t done enough, and we have often been silent or complicit. We support Black communities when they co-sign our goals, but don’t do enough to place their voices and strategies front and center on our podium. We have a lot of work to do to make the Black community feel more comfortable in our movement and address the racism within.
As part of Daily Kos’ racial justice work, we are making the following external and internal organizational commitments.
- Continue the efforts that have already raised close to $1,000,000 from our community for Black-led groups fighting police brutality and white supremacy since 2020. We also commit to granting 1% of our revenue to organizations fighting for Black liberation;
- Use grant money to support organizations who work with and uplift BIPOC candidates;
- Continue to center racial justice in its activism work via the Daily Kos Liberation League, along with highlighting and amplifying the racial justice work of partner organizations on the ground;
- Outline action items on hiring more BIPOC writers, editors, and Content Division staff and provide those staff with mentorship, professional development opportunities, and paths to leadership;
- Track, measure, and report our front page coverage of stories that center marginalized groups and people as part of our ongoing engagement strategy with the goal of increasing our front-page coverage of marginalized groups and people.
- Provide a list of anti-racism resources on the Daily Kos website in an accessible and static location;
- Amplify Black- and brown-led organizations by sharing information about on-the-ground organizing that our community can follow, connect, and volunteer with; and
- Broaden the sites our editors and writers read and uplift and cite more Black- and brown-led media organizations in our editorial work whenever possible. This also applies to our reporting on protests against police brutality and our goals to center Black people who are doing on-the-ground coverage. We also commit to publish more stories focused on Black joy rather than solely Black pain.
- Has an Equity Council devoted to doing racial justice work and dismantling white supremacy within the organization;
- Offers Traumatic Grief Leave for staff directly or indirectly impacted by racist, antisemitic, or police violence; and
- Offers Juneteenth as a company holiday, and has done so since 2020.
The road to dismantling white supremacy is long, and we know we have more work to do. The above list is just the beginning.
In conclusion: Black Lives Matter.
Daily Kos Equity Council
General Anti-Racist Resources:
- So you've declared that Black Lives Matter. Now What?
- Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
- Rachel Cargle Lecture Series and other resources
- 11 Things You Can Do To Help Black Lives Matter End Police Violence
- ‘Latinos must acknowledge our own racism, then we must pledge to fight it’
- Pride Cannot—and Must Not—Exist Without Anti-Racist Work
Books, Films & Podcasts:
Moving from Reformist to Abolitionist Framework:
- 8 to Abolition
- VIDEO: Is Defunding the Police Possible? A Conversation with Josie Duffy Rice & Derecka Purnell
- Article: ‘Defund the Police’ Actually Means Defunding the Police
- M4BL: What we mean when we say "defund the police"
- Police “Reforms” You Should Always Oppose
What are we talking about when we talk about “a police-free future?”
- VIDEO: So after we abolish prisons and policing...then what?: A Black Feminist Dialogue
- Security Does Not Mean Safety: #1
- PODCAST: Ruth Wilson Gilmore Makes The Case For Abolition