SDG #10: Reducing Inequality, Dismantling Racial Injustice

By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. –SDG Goal #10

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals highlight the unmet needs of our time, and the steps to take in achieving them. In Minnesota and in the United States as a whole, I am greatly motivated to reduce inequality (Goal #10).

Over the course of 19 days Black Lives Matter has peacefully occupied the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis in response to the November 19th shooting of Jamar Clark (whom witnesses say was handcuffed when fatally shot). The encampment ended yesterday morning when the police cleared protestors from the site. Nearly twelve hours later, a march to City Hall later further asserted the protestors’ request for the release of the police tapes without a grand jury.

On their Facebook page Black Lives Matter posted the following:

Over 300 of us took over City Hall 12 hours after a military style raid by over 100 police bulldozed the ‪#‎4thPrecinctShutDown, destroying the physical community we built together and arresting 8. Thank you to the thousands who have stood with us through an armed white supremacist terror attack, mace, batons, less lethal bullets, and freezing temperatures in the past 19 days since Jamar Clark was murdered by Minneapolis Police. Our work is not over, it has just begun.

The Minneapolis protests, vigils and occupations amongst many currently happening in our country are a blaring example of the social exclusion of black people in America. The lack of unfettered access to social power and resources are a product of an inherently racist design of systemic injustice, and is largely being acted out in our criminal justice system.

Michelle Alexander, author of the riveting book The New Jim Crow, wrote:

In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color ‘criminals’ and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

To support the Black Lives Matter community the Justice Office offered direct action items such as firewood, 20151204_103940_resizedfood, and hand warmers for the protesters during the encampment. The Justice Office and Ritual and Liturgy Services offered a Prayer Vigil in Our Lady of The Presentation Chapel on Thursday and Friday December 3rd and 4th.  Elea Ingman, SJW, Justice Program Assistant made cards especially for the vigil, which will now be available in the ad center. We invite everyone to stop by to write a message of encouragement, a prayer, and/or a statement of support.

Please join us as we stand in solidarity with our Black Lives Matter family.

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This post was written by Megan Bender, Justice Associate