OPEN LETTER TO THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS, 11/03/14
Dear Madame Fudge,
Let me thank you for your service on behalf of black people, as well as all Americans! I am sending you this letter in your capacity as Chairwoman of the Black Caucus and ask that you share this letter with the other members. As you probably know, the people’s cup runs over from state-sanctioned executions, police brutality, and low-intensity conflict that traumatize our people and children as well.
Thousands of black people and our allies of all colors and ages are on the move, not only in Ferguson, but also throughout the country. SpiritHouse Project is part of this fast-growing non-violent movement to contest and end state-sanctioned murders in a militarized police force, where our community is the main target. On November 12, 2014, in D.C. at Freedom Plaza at 12:30 p.m., SpiritHouse Project and our allies will stand to break the silence on this modern-day lynching, by holding the first national public memorial service that includes a public roll call of 1000 black victims of state-sanctioned murders. We ask members of the Black Caucus to come as witnesses and to stay for the entire memorial service that includes the reading of the names. We do not ask you to come as politicians to give speeches. Instead, we ask you to come as members of the black community. Your presence makes a strong statement that you respect and take seriously police assaults on our community. The people need to know that you do not stand at a distance or are detached from our suffering and grief.
It is important that members of the Black Caucus in states that have the highest number of state-sanctioned murders and brutality show up. Sarah Collins Rudolph, who survived the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed her sister, Addie Mae Collins, will be a part of this delegation to show the deep roots and continuity of state-sanctioned police and vigilante murders against black people. Please find our call to action that lays out the memorial, as well as key people who will attend and speak.
Speaking for the SpiritHouse Project network and thousands of people around America, I believe that as an elected body who claims to advance and protect the rights of black people, the Black Caucus has been silent and accommodating far too long to state-sanctioned murders, brutality, profiling, stop-and-frisk laws, and criminalization of our people. In short, we have not heard your collective voices in a growing climate of white supremacy that is moving like a brush fire through every aspect of American society.
It is time for the Black Caucus to break the silence and stand in the forefront of a 21st-century movement to counter this reality. Aside from attending the Memorial Service on November 12th, we, the people, insist that you aggressively:
Madame Chairwoman, I must speak candidly because so much is at stake. Black people, as well as our allies, find it problematic that your lives of luxury and exceptionalism protect you from the everyday realities of being black in a white police state. We cannot allow you to get our votes and ignore one of the most pressing and human rights issues for black people in the 21st century. Paraphrasing our beloved freedom-fighting mother, Fannie Lou Hamer, we did not fight, die, and sacrifice to come this far to buttress your careers while the blood of the people flows unnoticed and unclaimed.
Madame Fudge, what does it mean for the Black Caucus to represent black people in an era of police terror where black bodies are disposable waste? What does it mean for the Black Caucus to represent our people in an era where black children live with the terror and trauma of seeing police taser their family members, conduct swat raids, and other acts of terror, such as breaking car windows or throwing stun bombs into their houses? What does it mean to represent us when a six-year-old black child saw the police put a gun to his mother’s head and trembling with fear came out of the car with his hands raised in the "don’t shoot" posture?
I remind you that freedom is a constant struggle. We are called upon once again as a community to combat one of the most pernicious epidemics of the 21st century. It is ironic that we fight for our lives in a period where there are more black representatives then ever. What do you think history will make of this?
I look forward to hearing from you and look forward to seeing members of the Black Caucus on November 12th. I also invite you to go to Breaking the Silence Against Modern Day Lynching on Facebook, which is a public space we created. Here, people post incidents about state-sanctioned murders, suspicious deaths, and police brutality of black people. You can also learn more about our work and the people who volunteer with us by going to www.spirithouseproject.org.
You can reach me directly by calling 202-431-0764.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.