After months of protests and actions focusing on accountability for Chicago police abuses, one of the many groups rallying for change has unveiled a bold policy platform aimed at improving the lives of black people.
Black Youth Project 100, an activist member-based organization of black 18-to-35-year-olds, released the "Agenda to Build Black Futures" Monday—a platform that emphasizes the need for economic policies to include a focus on racial justice.
The agenda calls for the adoption of a workers' bill of rights, divesting from for-profit prisons, accountability and redress for predatory lending from banks, and reparations to address the disproportionate system-wide impact of slavery on black lives, among other measures.
"We must focus on structural changes," BYP 100 national director Charlene Carruthers said in a statement presented with the policy document. "The 'American Dream' of meritocracy has never guaranteed prosperity for Black people in America. Our goal is to provide a well-researched and accessible resource to activists who want to change public policy on national, state, and local levels."
Janae Bonsu, national policy director for BYP100, adds that the agenda serves as a toolkit that, while not exhaustive, will help inform organizing and activist work in the Chicago area and nationally. Making policy demands remains a key priority, Bonsu says, and functions as an important component of large-scale efforts to put the ideas into action.
The newly released policy doc is the second to come from BYP 100, which counts hundreds of members in its Chicago base. The 2014 policy paper "Agenda to Keep Us Safe" focused primarily on issues of race and law enforcement, including the need for increased community oversight of police, and the disproportionate criminalization of black people via the "war on drugs."
"We envision a more economically just society that values the lives and well-being of all black people, including women, queer, and transgender folks, the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, as well as those who languish in the bottom 1% of the economic hierarchy," the organization notes online. "The Agenda to Build Black Futures is a call to action for everyone who is committed to black liberation."
The agenda is available online; the site will also serve as an online hub for related petitions and other on-the-ground campaign work.