Black Lives Matter

The events of the last few days have confirmed—tragically and wretchedly—something foundational to American society some have only just come to recognize, but many have known with a cruel intimacy since the day they were born.

Further reading and resources

Image of the Black Friday BART protest by Julia Carrie Wong (Alicia Garza pictured right)

The recent police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, followed by a sniper’s killing of five police officers—Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa—and the wounding of several others at an otherwise peaceful rally against police abuse, has left Americans and peoples around the world reeling with frustration and horror. Since at least the murder of Trayvon Martin and the launch of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a belated awakening among men and women everywhere to the persistence and even growth of institutionalized racism in the United States, as well as the violent intrusion of prisons and policing into every level of black life. The events of the last few days have confirmed—tragically and wretchedly—something foundational to American society some have only just come to recognize, but many have known with a cruel intimacy since the day they were born.

For many years this magazine has been committed to analyzing and exposing the true nature of policing and prisons, and how bound up the American polity is with racism. It is inarguable that this commitment has not been enough, and it will remain a focus as long as liberation is still out of sight. But insofar as the crisis precedes the current movement, and may persist beyond it, we believe there are reasons to look back at the essays on the subject posted below. Lawrence Jackson’s writings on Baltimore and the meaning of humanism in light of the movement against racist policing illuminate with fine, hard-won precision the violence black lives in this country have been made to suffer over generations. Elias Rodriques’s essay describes growing up in a Florida ruled by police, and the experience of seeing cop cars and wondering “if today is my day.” In “Hands Up,” Rodriques, Cosme Del Rosario-Bell, and Doreen St. Félix hold a frank, searing conversation responding to a spate of police shootings, held in November 2014, but—it unfortunately goes without saying—no less relevant today.

The history and sociology of black liberation movements and responses to policing are a subject of several essays below. Among them, Mark Greif’s landmark “Seeing Through Police” wonders how to reconcile the practices of police with theories of democracy. Aziz Rana’s essay on “Race and the American Creed” points to a world beyond liberal hopes of mere equality of opportunity, and to the possibility of a revolutionary re-founding of the country.

Though we have not considered it our role to propose solutions, some of these essays have done so. Christopher Glazek’s “Raise the Crime Rate” calls straightforwardly for prison abolition. But to accomplish these goals requires direct action and mobilization, as well as knowledge of resources. In addition to n+1’s writings, we list organizations and contacts devoted to solving the crisis and changing American society. (It is tempting, once again, to replace the “c” with a “k.”) The nature of the crisis goes to the root, and the call for transformation is clarion. It cannot be repressed. Cannot be denied. —Editors

From the archives

Hands Up by Cosme Del Rosario-Bell, Elias Rodriques, Doreen St. Félix, and Dayna Tortorici

I think about how impulsive I was as a kid, yet I was expected to act like a calm, grown-ass man. If I thought someone was going to threaten me, I might run, you know? I’m fucking worried, I’m a kid, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t take that long to think about things because I’m not very calm. I’m 14 or 15, I make irrational or dumb decisions. In the face of fear, I only become more irrational. And I should be allowed to be unreasonable. I shouldn’t be worried that this might result in my death. When I was growing up, people said, “You shouldn’t run from the cops, you might get shot in the back.” It’s true, but if I am a 14-year-old and I think that I’m fast and I’m worried that I’m going to die, I’m just going to bolt.

A Love Note to Our Folks by Alicia Garza and L.A. Kauffman

The turn to militant direct action around the country came out of a feeling that we don’t have anything to lose. I honestly think that’s the feeling. We should be clear. We’re going to ebb and flow between those moments where direct action and militant direct action are tactics that people are willing to engage, depending on the level of repression that they face from the state, and that’s real. People know that, and I think continue to hold the moral center: “We’re just fighting for our lives, and you’re trying to take our lives.”

Seeing Through Police by Mark Greif

The purpose of touching by police is to make persons touchable. Touch readies more touch. The restraints in civilization on attacking anyone, especially a citizen who portends no harm or threat, are fairly high. For most forms of violence that breach civilized norms, even if it is one’s art or profession, steps of habituation are needed. The “sudden” violent arrest at a protest is almost never sudden if you have been watching the officer and the longer sequence. The process of change in an officer who brings someone down is not oriented to the target, but seems interior, oriented to the self; in the expressions that pass over the face — usually in an instant of stepping back, at the end of an interaction or negotiation — you can detect a change of availability that prefaces the attack. It very often seems to surprise nearby officers, even astonish or trouble them, but they still know to capture whichever citizens wind up on the ground (sometimes the wrong ones, as the trailing officers seem to cuff bystanders who happen to get knocked down indirectly in the attack).

On Becoming More Human by Lawrence Jackson

Last week, as I walked to campus, I listened to the news broadcast Democracy Now!, which has offered some of the most balanced and probing reportage there is on the public killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Kajieme Powell in St. Louis; Eric Garner in Staten Island; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; Akai Gurley in East New York; Rumain Brisbon in Phoenix; and Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. But listening to these reports, I felt it was insincere of people to express shock when confronting the fact that lethal police violence toward black men is endemic to American society. As a teacher, I wondered how it was possible for the Democracy Now! panelists to have missed that lesson in school. On another level, I was even more flabbergasted to hear, again and again, that the policemen and policewomen and emergency medical technicians had failed to recognize or appreciate the humanity of their African American male victims.

Fear and Aggression in Florida by Elias Rodriques

In 2005, the year I started high school, Florida passed a law repealing a defender’s “duty to retreat.” Stand Your Ground sanctified deadly force in any situation where a person felt threatened, not just in their home or on their property. My mother worried about this law as she worried about its predecessor, the Castle Doctrine. A lot of people feel threatened by black males, she argued, even skinny, studious ones. She often warned me against going on another person’s property, assuming that “defenders” would target people like me. According to her, I could lose my life for stepping on the wrong lawn. I believed her.

Arms and the Man by Tim Barker

A large part of what makes the Black Panthers important is their distance from other forms of radical political violence in the late 1960s. Though they saw Watts as a crucial harbinger, they distinguished clearly between riot and revolution, and even helped to “keep Oakland cool” as riots swept the country after King’s assassination. And unlike the chiliastic vanguardists in the Weather Underground, the Panthers rooted their politics in a popular social base, “serving the people” of the inner cities and helping them to see themselves, often for the first time, as political actors. The Panther project might be seen as an attempt at the classic left-wing goal of dual power, in which an alternative form of governance arises parallel to the official one, gradually assuming the functions and winning the legitimacy that had formerly belonged to the state.

I Will Only Bleed Here by Bijan Stephen

Let me tell you another story. It was Nabeem’s birthday and we were headed to a club to dance and sweat with each other. I was standing beside Calah when she reached the front of the line; the bouncer looked at her ID—she’s black like me—deemed it fake, and, for some reason, rendered it unusable. He broke it in half. We called the manager and I was angry, trying and failing to explain to him why this was not okay. He told me I was too drunk—I wasn’t—and told me to take a walk to cool off. I walked to a bodega and walked back. He wouldn’t let me in. I wasn’t a writer then, or I didn’t see myself as one, though I was writing for places that people might have heard of. I finally threatened him with words. I told him I’d write about him, and that was when he became as angry as me. He finally saw me. That night we slept at Calah’s place—home, safe, black peas in a pod. I don’t need to tell you that Michael Brown is neither home nor safe.

Raise the Crime Rate by Christopher Glazek

America’s prison system is a moral catastrophe. The eerie sense of security that prevails on the streets of lower Manhattan obscures, and depends upon, a system of state-sponsored suffering as vicious and widespread as any in human history. Dismantling the system of American gulags, and holding accountable those responsible for their operation, presents the most urgent humanitarian imperative of our time.

Slickheads by Lawrence Jackson

The Pell Grants and the Maryland scholarships got cut off around this time, and all of a sudden nobody was going to college out of state. The money went out as fast as the dope came in. That ride to Edwin Waters or Cheney or Widener, that had been wish fulfillment in the past. By the second half of the ’80s, if you went to school, it was either down the street to the community college or up to Morgan, the old state college for Negroes where my parents and Charm’s parents had been sent, at the end of the #33 bus line. Most of my homeboys, their parents would let them try it out for a semester. Our people believed in control. In our neighborhood fathers would brag to each other, “I’m never letting that nigger drive my car,” meaning their own sons. Young boys like Dan Redd and Darryl and Mark were smart, but they couldn’t get to school out of state and get that big jump on life from out the neighborhood. I got into college three hundred miles away — and those last weeks when the beef was running fast and furious, I tried not to be so simple-minded as to jeopardize a chance.

Race and the American Creed by Aziz Rana

Today, the “creedal” story of national identity—according to which the United States has been committed to the principle that “all men are created equal” from the time of its founding, and our history can be viewed as a steady fulfillment of this idea—finds itself in profound crisis. This story has been unmasked, not for the first time, by the problem of race. So has the vision for reform with which it is associated—the steady opening of equal opportunity to all. The creed is so central to American identity that it has become difficult to imagine an alternative, similarly grounded in a strong political tradition. Finding and defending such a tradition is the difficulty of the present moment, but also its promise.

Why Not Say What Happened? by Tim Barker

Anyone who starts talking to you about bombing something today is probably an FBI provocateur. If there is something to be nostalgic about reading Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage, it is not the bombings but the landscape they illuminated by accident: an America where the security state was a work in progress and the prospect of terrorism did not deform everyday life. “We didn’t have anything close to modern surveillance procedures,” an FBI veteran tells Burrough “with a sigh.” In 1972, you could walk into the Pentagon day after day and spend hours walking the halls, all without ever showing ID. If you needed to steal an identity, or dozens of them, you could search a cemetery for the names of dead infants, request copies of their birth certificates, and get photoless drivers’ licenses in their names.

The Gun Control We Deserve by Patrick Blanchfield

Clamping down now makes sense as a way to stack the deck against escalations in civil unrest, whether catalyzed by climate change, economic disruption, or further instances of racist police violence. The bottom line is that, in the worst case scenario, America doubles down on the carceral security state and uses “gun control” as a warrant for doing so. Meanwhile, the prerogatives of white supremacy—a foundational organizing principle of the US far more insidiously lethal than mere physical weapons—would be preserved.

In Baltimore by Nikil Saval

The tone of paternalism and elite chumminess, at once weary and smug, so prevalent among the political caste of the city, lingered with me as I passed through West Baltimore. It felt especially despicable here, not because of the decades-long devastation of the neighborhood, which was real, but because of the atmosphere of articulate anger and self-respecting rebellion fomenting in the streets. The corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and North Avenue was where the CVS stood—one of the few supposedly “looted” buildings that was genuinely destroyed. (So many others reported to be looted, in the media’s mania for covering this side of the story, seemed to have suffered little more than broken windows or doors). It was open: the ceiling black, the aisles still standing, smelling of burnt plastic. “It’s like a fucking exhibit,” someone said, walking in past a sign held up by strips up tape that read, “This HAPPENED because of The Police, not US!”


Communities United for Police Reform (CPR)

“Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change.” http://changethenypd.org/campaign/intro-members

Urban Justice Center

“Since 1981, the Urban Justice Center has served New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing.” Their current projects include: Community Development Project, Domestic Violence Project, Safety Net Project, Human Rights Project, International Refugee, Assistance Project, Mental Health Project, Peter Cicchino Youth Project, Sex Workers Project, Street Vendor Project, Veteran Advocacy Project.

Brooklyn Defenders

“Brooklyn Defender Services is a public defender organization that represents 45,000 people each year who are too poor to afford an attorney. Our staff consists of specialized attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals and administrative staff who are experts in their individual fields.”

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project

“The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice. Therefore, we seek to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.”

Further resources in New York

compiled by Communities United for Police Reform:

Arab American Association of New York

“Our mission is to support and empower the Arab Immigrant and Arab American community by providing services to help them adjust to their new home and become active members of society. Our aim is for families to achieve the ultimate goals of independence, productivity and stability.”

Audre Lorde Project

“The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area. Through mobilization, education and capacity-building, we work for community wellness and progressive social and economic justice. Committed to struggling across differences, we seek to responsibly reflect, represent and serve our various communities.”

Brooklyn Movement Center

“The Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC) is a membership-led, direct-action, community organizing body based in Central Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and the surrounding area). We bring together residents to develop local leadership, identify important issues in their lives, win concrete improvements in the community, and build power. BMC is staffed by local organizers, supported by members, governed by a community-based board of directors, and guided by campaign working groups made up of organizational leaders.”

Bronx Defenders

“The Bronx Defenders provides innovative, holistic, and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, social work support and advocacy to indigent people of the Bronx. Today, our staff of over 250 represents 35,000 individuals each year and reaches hundreds more through outreach programs and community legal education. In the Bronx and beyond, The Bronx Defenders promotes justice in low-income communities by keeping families together.”

Center for Popular Democracy

“CPD is a high-impact national organization that builds organizing power to transform the local and state policy landscape through deep, long-term partnerships with leading community-based organizing groups nationwide.”

Center for Constitutional Rights

“The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. We do that by combining cutting-edge litigation, advocacy and strategic communications in work on a broad range of civil and human rights issues, listed below.”

Color of Change

“ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice. Our goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.”

Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV)

“CAAAV Is a pan-Asian community-based organization that works to build the power of low-income Asian immigrants and refugees in New York City. CAAAV develops leadership in Asian communities to impact the policies and institutions that affect their lives and to participate in a broader movement for racial and economic justice.”

Desis Rising Up & Moving

“DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center (formerly Desis Rising Up and Moving) is a multigenerational, membership led organization of low-wage South Asian immigrant workers and youth in New York City. Founded in 2000, DRUM has mobilized and built the leadership of thousands of low-income, South Asian immigrants to lead social and policy change that impacts their own lives- from immigrant rights to education reform, civil rights, and worker’s justice.”

Drug Policy Alliance

“The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

Our supporters are individuals who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. Together we advance policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and seek solutions that promote safety while upholding the sovereignty of individuals over their own minds and bodies. We work to ensure that our nation’s drug policies no longer arrest, incarcerate, disenfranchise and otherwise harm millions – particularly young people and people of color who are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.”


“FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City.  We develop politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving ourselves and our communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media.”

Girls for Gender Equity

“Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is an intergenerational grassroots organization committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. Through education, organizing and physical fitness, GGE encourages communities to remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.”

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

“For 25 years, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) has pursued racial and economic justice in New York City by advancing systemic changes that result in concrete improvements in people’s everyday lives. We are inspired by Jewish tradition to fight for a sustainable world with an equitable distribution of economic and cultural resources and political power​.”

LatinoJustice PRLDEF

“LatinoJustice PRLDEF champions an equitable society. Using the power of the law together with advocacy and education, LatinoJustice PRLDEF protects opportunities for all Latinos to succeed in school and work, fulfill their dreams, and sustain their families and communities.”

Legal Aid Society

“The Legal Aid Society is a private, not-for-profit legal services organization, the oldest and largest in the nation, dedicated since 1876 to providing quality legal representation to low-income New Yorkers. It is dedicated to one simple but powerful belief: that no New Yorker should be denied access to justice because of poverty.”

Make The Road New York

“Make the Road New York (MRNY) builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.”

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

“Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is an org of Afrikans/New Afrikans whose mission is to defend the human rights of our people & promote self determination”

Marijuana Arrests Research Project

“Marijuana-Arrests.com is an online library of materials about the huge numbers of racially-biased marijuana possession arrests, their consequences, and the law enforcement policies and operations which produce them.”

NAACP-Legal Defense and Education Fund

“The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans.”

New York City Anti-Violence Project

“AVP was founded in 1980 in Chelsea in reaction to neighborhood incidents of anti-gay violence. Today, AVP provides free and confidential assistance to thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected people each year from all five boroughs of New York City through direct client services and community organizing and public advocacy.”

New York Civil Liberties Union

“The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is one of the nation’s foremost defenders of civil liberties and civil rights.” “Our mission is to defend and promote the fundamental principles and values embodied in the Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the New York Constitution, including freedom of speech and religion, and the right to privacy, equality and due process of law for all New Yorkers.”

NY Communities for Change

“New York Communities for Change (NYCC) is a coalition of working families in low and moderate income communities fighting for social and economic justice throughout the State. We are people fighting to make a difference, using our power in numbers to effect change throughout New York. By using direct action, legislative advocacy, and community organizing, our members work to impact the political and economic policies that directly affect us.”

Peoples’ Justices for Community Control and Police Accountability

“A New York City coalition of grassroots organizations working in Black, Latino/a and Asian communities.” The coalition’s movement for police accountability includes “conducting Know Your Rights trainings and outreach throughout the city, using public art and design projects for community education and empowerment, organizing neighborhood-based Cop Watch teams, and expanding New York’s ‘culture of Cop Watch’ as a means of building community power and decreasing police misconduct and violence.”

Picture the Homeless

“Picture the Homeless was founded on the principle that homeless people have civil and human rights regardless of our race, creed, color, gender  identity, sexual orientation, or economic, disability, or migration status.” “We oppose the quality of life laws that criminalize homeless people in any form by the city, state and national governments. We work to change these laws and policies as well as to challenge the root causes of homelessness. Our strategies include grassroots organizing, direct action, and educating homeless people about their rights, public education, changing media stereotypes, and building relationships with allies.”

Rockaway Youth Task Force

“The mission of the Rockaway Youth Task Force is to empower youth in our local communities through civic engagement and volunteer opportunities. We seek to spark social change in the Rockaways through youth leadership, and provide opportunities for teenagers and young adults to become productive citizens of the Rockaways.”

Street Wise and Safe

“We offer leadership development programming for LGBTQ communities, we advocate for systemic changes to policing policies and practices that jeopardize the safety of LGBTQ youth of color and, we engage in movement-building with partners and allies across New York City, New York State and the United States around these issues impacting our lives.”

Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY)

“Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY) is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, public education, participatory research and direct action.”

Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice

“Guided by a prophetic faith, YMPJ’s purpose is to transform both the people and the physical infrastructure of blighted South Bronx neighborhoods and change the systems that negatively impact them. Founded in 1994, the mission of Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice (YMPJ) is to rebuild the neighborhoods of Bronx River and Soundview/Bruckner in the South Bronx by preparing young people to become prophetic voices for peace and justice. We accomplish this through political education, spiritual formation, and youth and community development and organizing.”

Youth Represent

“Youth Represent is a holistic youth defense and advocacy non-profit organization. Our mission is to ensure that young people affected by the criminal justice system are afforded every opportunity to reclaim lives of dignity, self-fulfillment, and engagement in their communities. We provide criminal and reentry legal representation to youth age 24 and under who are involved in the criminal justice system or who are experiencing legal problems because of past involvement in the criminal justice system.”

5 Boro Defenders

“An informal association of public defenders, civil rights attnys, students, profs and more who advocate on behalf of the civil rights of low income New Yorkers.”

Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF)

“Founded in 1974, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is a national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans. By combining litigation, advocacy, education, and organizing, AALDEF works with Asian American communities across the country to secure human rights for all.” “AALDEF focuses on critical issues affecting Asian Americans, including immigrant rights, civic participation and voting rights, economic justice for workers, language access to services, educational equity, housing and environmental justice, and the elimination of anti-Asian violence, police misconduct, and human trafficking.”

Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325

“The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys , UAW Local 2325 represents the 800+ attorneys who work for the Legal Aid Society in the criminal, juvenile rights, and civil practices.”

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice

“The Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice is the only philanthropic organization working exclusively to advance LGBTQI human rights around the globe. We support brilliant and brave grantee partners in the U.S. and internationally who challenge oppression and seed change. We work for racial, economic, social, and gender justice, because we all deserve to live our lives freely, without fear, and with dignity.”

Bill of Rights Defense Committee / Defending Dissent Foundation

“The Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation protects the right of political expression to strengthen participatory democracy, and to fulfill the promise of the Bill of Rights for everyone.”

Black Women’s Blueprint

“Black Women’s Blueprint, Inc. is a civil and human rights organization of women and men. Our purpose is to take action to secure social, political and economic equality in American society now. We work to develop a culture where women of African descent are fully empowered and where gender, race and other disparities are erased. We engage in progressive research, historical documentation, support movement building and organize on social justice issues steeped in the struggles of Black women within their communities and within dominant culture.”

Brotherhood/Sister Sol

“Founded in 1995, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) provides comprehensive, holistic and long-term support services to youth who range in age from eight to twenty-two. Bro/Sis offers wrap around evidence-based programming. The organization focuses on issues such as leadership development and educational achievement, sexual responsibility, sexism and misogyny, political education and social justice, Pan-African and Latino history, and global awareness. Bro/Sis provides four-six year rites of passage programming, thorough five day a week after school care, school and home counseling, summer camps, job training and employment, college preparation, community organizing training, and international study programs to Africa and Latin America.”

Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions

“The Center is dedicated to creating new paradigms of justice directed towards reducing mass incarceration, mass unemployment and mass disenfranchisement in communities of color. It produces research, advocacy and activism that challenges and changes the contradictions existing within and among the various disciplines comprising the study of urban affairs, community economic development and criminal punishment.”

Chhaya CDC

“Our mission is to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Chhaya carries out this work in several ways, including free direct services, education and outreach, community organizing, and research and policy, as well as both local and citywide coalition-building. Our work encompasses tenant rights, financial capacity building, sustainable homeownership, foreclosure prevention, energy efficiency, women’s financial empowerment, workforce development, civic engagement, and broader community building and research and advocacy around community needs.”

Child Welfare Organizing Project

“CWOP is a tireless defender of the rights of children and families in New York City. Through organized involvement and collective advocacy, we are transforming the services provided to our city’s families through the New York City child protection system. CWOP puts HEAT on the child welfare system, demanding accountability and change; HOPE to disenfranchised families already impacted by the system; and HELP for parents to become organizers, leaders, and advocates.

Citizen Action of NY

“Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots membership organization taking on […] issues like: quality education and after-school programs for all our kids; guaranteed quality, affordable health care; public financing of election campaigns; dismantling racism and promoting racial justice; a more progressive tax system.”

Council on American Islamic Relations – New York

“The Council on American Islamic Relations of New York (CAIR-NY) is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil rights organization. CAIR-NY’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote social justice and mutual understanding.”

Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility

“The Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project is housed at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. CLEAR primarily aims to address the unmet legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.”

Criminal Justice Clinic at Pace Law School

“Student attorneys enrolled in the Criminal Justice Clinic handle all aspects of the representation, from arraignment through sentencing, of indigent clients charged with misdemeanor offenses in the Bronx County Criminal Court. This could include bail applications, factual investigation and discovery, motions and memoranda of law, hearings on motions, negotiation with the District Attorney, trial and sentencing advocacy, and, if necessary, probation and parole revocation hearings.”

El Puente

“El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action.” “Organizing in North Brooklyn and beyond, El Puente remains at the forefront of community/youth learning and development issues and as such, initiates and impacts social policy both locally and nationally.”

Families for Freedom

“Families for Freedom is a New York-based multi-ethnic human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant prisoners (detainees), former immigrant prisoners, their loved ones, or individuals at risk of deportation. We come from dozens of countries, across continents. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods; and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.”

Gay Men of African Descent

“Historically, black gay men had been forced to prioritize their battles as if each was mutually exclusive: they were simply not just black or not just men or not just gay. They were all three of these things. Rev. Angel’s goal was to create an environment in which black gay men embraced each aspect of their lives publicly and without shame. Thus was born the first serious attempt to mobilize this group of men, who, up till that point, had lived their lives in the shadows, often in fear, shame and alone.”

The Game Changers Project

“The GAME CHANGERS PROJECT is a national fellowship program for emerging filmmakers of color in partnership with community-based organizations dedicated to improving outcomes for boys and men of color and other under-represented groups.”

Immigrant Defense Project

“The mission of Immigrant Defense Project is to secure fairness and justice for immigrants in the United States. We work to transform a racially biased criminal legal system that violates basic human rights and an immigration system that tears hundreds of thousands of immigrants with convictions each year from their homes, their families, and their communities. We fight to end the current era of unprecedented mass deportation via strategies that attack these two interconnected systems at multiple points. We use impact litigation and advocacy to challenge unfair laws and policies and media and communications to counter the pervasive demonization of immigrants. And we provide expert legal advice, training, and resources to immigrants, legal defenders, and grassroots organizations, to support those on the frontlines of the struggle for justice.”

Interfaith Center of New York

“The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) works to overcome prejudice, violence, and misunderstanding by activating the power of the city’s grassroots religious and civic leaders and their communities.”

Manhattan Young Democrats

“Manhattan Young Democrats (MYD) are the official youth arm of the Democratic party in New York County. Our mission is to educate and activate Manhattan’s young progressives.”

New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE)

“New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the health, safety and well-being of marginalized, low-income persons who use drugs or engage in sex work, their loved ones and their communities. Vigorously advocating for social justice, we strive to redress these disparities by providing vital resources, tools and support that enhance quality of life and facilitate the prevention of diseases disproportionately affecting persons who use drugs or engage in sex work, including HIV and viral hepatitis.”

Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

“The Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR), is a non-profit organization, founded in 1982 to educate, defend and protect the rights of immigrants. Recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals, NMCIR is committed to expanding access to legal immigration services, participating in policy making and community organizing.”


PROS Network

“The PROS Network (Providers and Resources Offering Services to sex workers) is a coalition of sex workers, organizers, direct service providers, advocates, and media makers. We exist to collaborate on programs and campaigns around sex work-related issues in the New York metropolitan area. We work with people of all genders who, by choice, circumstance, or coercion, engage in sexual activities for money, food, shelter, clothing, drugs, or other survival needs. Grounded in principles of social justice and human rights, the PROS Network embraces a non-judgmental, harm reduction approach.”

Public Science Project

“The Public Science Project is dedicated to the advancement of participatory action research as a strategy for a more just world. With a deep commitment to democratizing the systematic production of knowledge, we collaborate with communities to design research that examines the impact of policy and structural injustice. Building on the legacy of participatory and activist research carved out by WEB Du Bois, Kurt Lewin, Claire Selltiz, Margot Wormser, Ignacio Martín-Baró, and Orlando Fals Borda, we have contributed to the field for more than a decade – expanding notions of expertise, creating alliances across communities, and producing critical knowledge for individuals, communities, and the academy.”

Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York

“We are dedicated to improving the working conditions in the restaurant industry. We actively outreach to workers in the NYC area to build, develop, and lead the worker center. ROC-NY is an affiliate of ROC United. We use a tri-pronged model of change to build power and voice for restaurant workers.”

Sistas & Brothas United/ Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition

“The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition has a tradition of broad-based, membership driven, social justice community organizing. We build power through relational organizing and issue campaigns that recruit and train individual and institutional members, energize institutions, win concrete victories that improve material conditions for community members, change public and private policies that affect the Northwest Bronx, and alter the relations of power.”

Trinity Lutheran Church

“Trinity Lutheran Church is a vibrant and exciting urban Christian community in the heart of Sunset Park. Here at Trinity we are committed to the growing and diverse groups that surround our church and welcome people from all different backgrounds.”

T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

“T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights brings together rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism, together with all members of the Jewish community, to act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Turning Point for Women and Families

“Turning Point is a community based, non-profit organization addressing the needs of Muslim women and children through crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, advocacy, outreach, education and training. Responding to the wide gap between needs and services available to the Muslim community, Turning Point offers culturally competent services, especially in the area of domestic violence.”

YA-YA Network

“The mission of the YA-YA Network (Youth Activists-Youth Allies) is to provide training and leadership experience to prepare young people to become the next generation of activists in the movement for social and economic justice. YA-YA is a youth-driven, citywide, anti-racist, anti-sexist organization and allies with the LGBTQ community. We are staffed by young activists ages 15-25. We provide core trainings in anti-oppression, organizing skills and political education then engage as leaders and active members in campaigns that directly impact youth, their families and the communities they live in.”


“The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN), fights to stop rampant corporate gentrification that is causing displacement of residents.”

Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee NYC
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“BEFORE IT’S GONE // TAKE IT BACK is a self-documentary art archive, resource and organizing project against the gentrification of Brooklyn, NY.”

Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP)

“The Queer Detainee Empowerment Project (QDEP) is a collective Alternative to Detention (ATD), detention center visitation, direct service, and community organizing project that works with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Two Spirit, Trans, Gender Non- Conforming, and HIV+ detainees and their families currently in detention centers, those that are recently released from detention centers, and undocumented folks in New York City.”

The Base

“The Base is an anarchist political center in Bushwick, Brooklyn, committed to the dissemination of revolutionary left and anarchist ideas and organizing. The mission of the space is to spread ideas and practices to the broader populace and provide a place where individuals can learn, grow, and organize outside of traditional activist and educational institutions.”

Outside New York

Organization for Black Struggle – Saint Louis

“The Organization for Black Struggle was founded in 1980 by activists, students, union organizers and other community members in order to fill a vacuum left by the assaults on the Black Power Movement. Our vision: To contribute to the creation of a society free of all forms of exploitation and oppression. Our mission: To build a movement that fights for political empowerment, economic justice and the cultural dignity of the African-American community, especially the Black working class.”

List of OBS allies

Black Youth Project 100

“BYP100 is an activist member-based organization of Black 18-35 year olds, dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people.”

Black and Pink

“Black & Pink is an open family of LGBTQ prisoners and “free world” allies who support each other. Our work toward the abolition of the prison industrial complex is rooted in the experience of currently and formerly incarcerated people. We are outraged by the specific violence of the prison industrial complex against LGBTQ people, and respond through advocacy, education, direct service, and organizing.”

Assata’s Daughters

“Assata’s Daughters is an intergenerational space that is centered around our youngest members, young Black women under the age of 18.” “Our program seeks to create and hold space for dialogue, affirmation, and for the exploration of the different forms of Black women’s empowerment and self-determination.”

Dream Defenders

“Dream Defenders is an uprising of communities in struggle, shifting culture through transformational organizing. We believe that our liberation necessitates the destruction of the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Imperialism as well as Patriarchy. We believe in People over profits. We believe that nonviolent resistance is “the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom” and are fundamentally committed to nonviolence as our means of struggle against a violent oppressor.”


“INCITE! is a nation-wide network of radical feminists of color working to end violence against women, gender non-conforming, and trans people of color, and our communities. We support each other through direct action, critical dialogue, and grassroots organizing.”

Stolen Lives Project

“The mission of the Stolen Lives Project is to assemble a national list of people killed by law enforcement agents from 1990 to the present. Through grassroots efforts, over 2000 cases were documented in the second edition of the Stolen Lives book, which was published in 1999. Although just the tip of the iceberg, these 2000+ are evidence of a horrifying national epidemic of police brutality.”

NYC Shut It Down

“NYC Shut It Down is a group of activists who came together after no justice was served in the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. We are a multiethnic, multigenerational group of anti-heteropatriarchal activists who fight against militarized policing and racial injustice. We call out police brutality and systemic racism and highlight the stories of those brutalized by police terror. We do this through speak outs, direct actions, and community outreach which consist of organizing Cop Watch patrols and distributing basic Know Your Rights information in marginalized communities and communities of color.”


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