‘We are sick of lip service. We want change.’ — Black lawmakers occupied the Pennsylvania House floor to demand action on 19 pending police reform bills. In US news and current events today, members of the Pennsylvania Black Legislative Caucus commandeered the dais of the House Speaker for approximately 90 minutes. Legislators demanded action on 19 pending police reform bills many of which had yet to be discussed or voted on. As Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta was addressing the chamber, a white Republican colleague went live on Facebook, calling Kenyatta a ‘mad man.’ Rep. Stephen Kinsey asked lawmakers to kneel for 8 minutes & 46 seconds the time an officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck during his fatal arrest .
The nationwide protests that started in response to the police killing of George Floyd have evolved into a movement calling for defunding of the police. “Defunding the police is not simply withdrawing funding for law enforcement and doing nothing else. … It is about shifting public funds to new services and new institutions,” says Angela Davis, legendary Black liberation activist and preeminent scholar of abolitionist thought. “Abolition is not primarily a negative strategy. It’s not primarily about dismantling, getting rid of — but it’s about re-envisioning, building anew. And I would argue abolition is a feminist strategy, and one sees in these abolitionist demands that are emerging the pivotal feminist theories and practices.”
President Trump will resume holding indoor campaign events starting with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 19, a day known as Juneteenth, that celebrates African Americans’ liberation from slavery. The rally also falls on the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa race riots, one of the worst acts of racial violence in U.S. history, in which white residents killed hundreds of their African American neighbors. Legendary scholar Angela Davis says it’s important to recognize that Trump “represents a sector of a population in this country that wants to return to the past … with all of its white supremacy, with all of its misogyny.” Given the historic uprising against racism and state violence, “We cannot be held back by such forces as those represented by the current occupant of the White House,” she says.
“Neither party represents the future — both parties remain connected to corporate capitalism,” Angela Davis says of the 2020 election. “We’re going to have to translate some of the passion that has characterized these demonstrations into work within the electoral arena, recognizing that the electoral arena is not the best place for the expression of radical politics.”
The destruction and removal of racist monuments in cities across the United States during recent weeks is part of an overdue reckoning with “historical racisms that have brought us to the point where we are today,” Angela Davis says. “Racism should have been immediately confronted in the aftermath of the end of slavery.”
The uprising against police brutality and anti-Black racism continues to sweep across the United States and countries around the world, forcing a reckoning in the halls of power and on the streets. The mass protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 have dramatically shifted public opinion on policing and systemic racism, as “defund the police” becomes a rallying cry of the movement. We discuss the historic moment with legendary scholar and activist Angela Davis. “One never knows when conditions may give rise to a conjuncture such as the current one that rapidly shifts popular consciousness and suddenly allows us to move in the direction of radical change,” she says. “The intensity of these current demonstrations cannot be sustained over time, but we will have to be ready to shift gears and address these issues in different arenas
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
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