August 20th, 2016

Protesting Racism


The Black Lives Matter movement swept the United States in the past few years, raising public awareness of police brutality and racism to unprecedented levels. Panelists, who include prominent leaders of this movement, will discuss the dynamics of this new social movement as well as the issues that led to its emergence and growth.


>> Good afternoon everybody and welcome. I'm Ruth Milkman, current President of the American Sociological Association, I think you know that. And I.
Thank you. And I am so delighted to see you all here for this session, which in my view, deals with the most urgent issue of our time.
I'm really just here to welcome you to the session and I' going to make a brief announcement, and then I'm going to introduce Aldon Morris who will moderate this session and introduce our panelists.
First the announcement, I was asked to announce this and I think in this room a lot of people will be interested. You probably all are aware that there's another conference that overlaps with this
one, The Society for the Study of Social Problems, colloquially known as the SSSP, and they are having a film showing tomorrow of a documentary about Black Lives Matter, it's called Unapologetically
Black, and it's kind of an awkward time, I don't know, where I life old people go to matinees and the movies, you know this is even more extreme, it's at 8:30 in the morning tomorrow.
However, it might really be worth going to, it sounds really great, I haven't seen it. It's at 8:30 in the Seattle Westin which is just down the street, room Cascade 1B. And it was created at the
Movement for Black Lives convening in July in Cleveland, and the filmmaker will be there afterward to answer questions and everything, so if you have time and interest check that out. Okay, so that's
the announcement and now I want to introduce Aldon Morris though I suspect most of you already know who he is, just in case I'm going to give you a little quick profile, his accomplishments are way
too numerous so we'd be here all afternoon reciting those, but I'll just give you the basics. He is currently the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African-American studies at Northwestern
University, where he has previously been a Department Chair and Associate Dean. He also, in the late 80s, served as the President of the Association of Black Sociologists. Aldon got his Ph.D. back in
1980, just around when I did, a year later, Stony Brook, and soon after that, in 1984, he published his first boo which is called The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, Black Communities
Organizing for Change, which made his reputation in our discipline and many other places and it's won many awards. Over the years since then, in a whole variety of publications, he's further explored
the legacy of the civil right movement and other social justice movements. Then, just last year, he published what I think of as his magnum opus, his widely acclaimed study of WEB Dubois, it's called
The Scholar Denied and I commend it to all of you.
If you don't already know, it makes the case that Dubois made all kind of contributions to the discipline of sociology that have been under-recognized and unappreciated, in fact indeed obliterated
from public memory and it's a very compelling argument. It is also the subject of an author meets critics session here in the conference on Monday, what time is it on Monday, do you remember? Well
you can look it up in your program. That's, 2:30, thank you. So that's in your program and I encourage you to come, I think that will be a really terrific session. So you know, those of you who don't
know the format is there will be a couple, I think there's three critics who will talk about the book, oral book reviews if you will, and then Aldon will respond, so that should be really worthwhile
too. Aldon is not only a scholar but part of why he's here today, officiating at this event, is that, like Dubois, he is a public intellectual and an activist. I have really enjoyed working with him
on planning this session and I'm so delighted that he agreed to be the Chair and moderate it and introduce our very special speakers, so please put your hands together to welcome Aldon.
>> Thank you President Milkman, I've been waiting to say that by the way. It certainly has been a delight working with Ruth, we only had very few arguments and so that's great.
So, at any rate I want to thank you for that lovely introduction. And also for organizing this plenary, "Protesting Racism." You know, given the volatile developments that's exploding all around us as
we speak, I really cannot imagine a more important discussion than this. We are fortunate to have, as our speakers, three activists, scholars, that is, they are activists but they also study and
think about the issues that they deal with. And they are involved in some of the most important social movements that's happening in the nation with international significance. So I want you to join
me in welcoming Miss Charlene Carruthers.
Miss Mariame Kaba.
And Professor Kimberle Crenshaw.
And following their presentations, we will try to have time for some Q&A. It's not typical that we do that, but just given how important this topic is, hopefully we will have time to do some
discussion. So I should move more quickly so that you will have time. So then let me say that Charlene A. Carruthers is the current National Director of the Black Youth Project, which is known as BYP
100. It is an activist, member-led organization of black, now I get a little funny about this, but of 18 and 35 year-olds.
Somebody reminded me last night that you better think about the 60s when we said we didn't want to deal with anybody over 30 so. Anyway this organization, this movement is dedicated to creating
justice and freedom for all black people. BYP 100 accomplishes its goals through building a collective based on transformative leadership development, direct action organizing, advocacy and
education. I think it also is important to say that Charlene Carruthers is a, as you can see, in terms of her being black, but also a queer feminist community organizer with over ten years of
experience for racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work. So, welcome Missus Carruthers.
>> Thank you.
>> Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator. Her work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, transformative justice, and supporting youth leadership
development. So this work has included organizing to pass in Chicago what's known as the torture reparations ordinance, which passed, launching the We Charge Genocide campaign, which presented
evidence of police brutality, to the United Nations. Most recently, an organization that Ms. Kaba founded, Project N.I.A., rallied around the Bye Anita hashtag. Anita Alvarez is the State Prosecutor
right? In Illinois, and she was ineffective when it came to state violence against citizens and black citizens in particular, and so she played a big role in defeating her. She is going to be
replaced by a sister that we hope will make a difference. So at any rate, I just want to welcome Mariame Kaba to this forum.
And finally, Kimberle Crenshaw. She is a Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia University. I guess she feels like you can never have too many jobs and too much tenure.
She is a prominent figure in critical race theories, specializing in race, law and gender issues. Professor Crenshaw is also renowned, as many of you know, as one of the founders of the
intersectionality paradigm. Her 1991 paper in the Stanford law review, Mapping the Margins, Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against Women of Color, laid the intellectual foundations
for the development of the intersectionality paradigm. She's also a founder of the American Policy Forum, and what is crucial is that she's brought attention to the fact that black women suffer
violence at the hands of the police and that we don't pay enough attention to it, and so one of the things that's resounding through the nation is say her name. So what I want to do then is to
welcome Professor Crenshaw, and they will speak in that order, thank you.
>> Good afternoon.
>> Good afternoon, very happy to be here, I almost didn't make it. I came here, traveled from Whittaker, North Carolina, while spending time at the Franklinton Center at Bricks which was formerly a
>> Good afternoon.
slave plantation in which they would spend the unruly enslaved Africans to be broken. And so we spent the past week being very unruly, a bunch of black folks talking about black land and liberation
and so I'm really happy to be with you all today. Thank you very much for the opportunity to come and speak and especially beside two people who I look up to, the work that you all do, and Mariame,
who I've had the opportunity to work with in Chicago, we don't have her anymore, we miss her, I'm really grateful for this opportunity. And this afternoon I'm going to talk about how the work that
we're doing right now is situated within a much longer movement for black liberation, yes, and how we do our work through what we call the black or feminist lens. And what's especially important
about that is, again, we do it within a tradition and a legacy of work. We didn't invent this. We didn't come up with the idea on our own to approach movement building from a different perspective or
a different orientation. And our work is informed of course, as I've mentioned, by folks before us like Barbara Smith, which I'm sure you all know Barbara Smith in the Combined River Collective or
the Combi River Collective depending on who you're talking to, how you should pronounce it right? And fearless activists like Marcia P. Johnson right? For without her the Stonewall Rebellion would
not be what we know it to be or what we should know it to be. So when we think about movement work in this particular moment, whether you call it the movement for Black Lives or the Black Lives
Matter movement, we are centering the experiences, the issues and the leadership development of black women, black LGBTQ folks, black trans folks, black gender nonconforming folks, differently abled,
and the list goes on and on and on, and essentially what that means is that none of us will be free until all of us are free. That is like, you know?
And Fanny Lou Hamer said a long time ago in a much more powerful way. And as a result of that, what you've seen in our work is, yes, like, our organization was founded the weekend that George
Zimmerman was found not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter, the hashtag that's now grown into a network and a movement project of its own, yes it started in the wake of that
but many of our touchstones or our moments of great escalations have been highlighting how state violence impacts black women and girls. And, you know, we have a treat today because Kimberle Crenshaw
is here and will talk extensively about Say Her Name and I wanted to really ground how we talk about our work and how we approach our work in BYP 100 through the work that we've contributed to with
the Justice for Rekia Boyd campaign. And I want to be clear that we didn't start that work either. The first responders to the killing of Rekia Boyd by Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin was her
family. Those are the first people and then other community members. We didn't join this fight as an organization until a year ago, just over a year ago.
And so Rekia Boyd was shot and killed, young black woman shot and killed not too far from Douglas park on the west side of Chicago. And for the past year, BYP 100, We Charge Genocide, Project Mia,
Assata's Daughters, Black Lives Matter Chicago, many organizations came together, calling for the firing of Dante Servin along with no pension, because he took Rekia's life, we know he took her life.
And he, at the time he was technically an off-duty police police officer. But it was important for us to do this work, because in a moment where people see our movement as one that focuses on black
cisgender men and boys, we know that our work is, yes, about the state violence that they experience and about the state violence that black women, girls and fems also experience right? And that if
we're going to be serious about black liberation, we have to be serious about all of us right, all of us and none of us. We have to be serious about Korryn Gaines. We have to be serious to the extent
that we put out calls to actually defend black women, and defend black mothers right? I don't think there's anything controversial about Korryn's actions at the core of it, I think she made a
decision that many of us have never been faced with right, and that many of us have perhaps pontificated about armed defense, but never have actually done it ourselves, right? But Korryn Gaines did,
and if you don't know Korryn Gaines you should look her up. You should look her up.
In addition to how we continue to censor black women, girls and fems, and when we say black women we mean all black women, both black women who are trans and non-trans, black women who are trans and
cisgender, so we, that bring us to Skye Mockabee. A black trans woman who was found slain in a parking lot, I believe it was, a parking lot. But what's more important is that, in the wake of her
death, which happened in the same time span as Korryn Gaines right, there was a swelling up of attention, but in both cases, outside of the typical communities that raised up in the aftermaths of
these killings, we did not see as much response from the broader, I should say social justice movement, right? And it's not that no one responded, it was generally the same people, who always
respond. And so, when we think about Skye, Korryn and Rekia, a lot of our actions are connected with that and just last year, in collaboration with the African-American Policy Forum and Krem Kenshaw,
Black Lives Matter, Ferguson Action, we held the first national day of action, the first national Say Her Name national day of action yeah? And, in which over 21 cities participated in direct action,
calling for an end of state violence against black women and girls and fems. And I think that is a unique marker of our movement in this particular moment, again a movement that didn't start three
years ago, didn't start six years ago, but has had its longevity rooted in a long-term struggle. Many people misname this movement, specifically at this moment in movement work, as specifically being
about the ending of police violence. Policing is one piece yes? Prisons are also one piece of this picture that are a part of a broader web of the ways in which black people experience anti-violence,
anti-blackness, excuse me, experience anti-blackness, state violence and various forms of oppression. And I think one quote that is especially important to me comes from CeCe McDonald. Anyone know
who CeCe McDonald is? Yeah?
Well you should know CeCe McDonald, she is a bad ass, fierce activist, organizer and leader, and who herself has spent time incarcerated, and she said that prisons aren't safe for anybody. They're not
safe for anybody. And I was reading an article by Joey James just yesterday where she talked about the difference between black liberal feminists, black radical feminists and black revolutionary
feminism right? And, while some people purport that prisoners can be reformed, that cops can just where body cameras, that, you know, they can have tasers instead of guns, CeCe McDonald
unapologetically asserted, from a position in the orientation of experience, that prisons aren't safe for anybody. And then this particular moment of movement you find, I found, my own place in
moving forward in an agenda towards the abolition of prisons and policing so that we can deal with harm and conflict in a different way, outside of those systems, which I've learned a lot of that
from Mariame Kaba, who is here today I actually can't believe I get to talk about, like, the people like right, and you all are here.
I don't usually get to do that. Don't usually get to do that. So, CeCe McDonald was very clear that as a black trans woman she actually didn't fight to be placed in a women's prison, because she
understood that women's prisons, men's prison, male prisons, she wasn't going to be safe. And nobody can make that decision for her but her, on whether or not where she believed she should be. And
thankfully she's no longer incarcerated. And. Oh, here we go, I want to go to this next actually. So, actually two days ago, two days ago, so.
So. Thanks for clapping, I want to make a couple notes about this. So correction, the reason why I brought this up is to continue this thought of why prisons aren't safe for anybody yeah? So we just
found out that the Department of Justice is now weaning itself off of private prisons yeah? That's great, cool.
But, you know, in the process of diving in deeper, into what it actually means to believe that prisons aren't safe for anybody, we have to understand and situate this as one, one kink or one chink in
the armor. Just one. Just one. In the broader armor of state violence that people experience, particularly black folk right? So we see that the corporations, the Corrections Corporation of America,
which is not only in private prisons, yeah, and is also involved in immigrant detention centers. The precedent is not around immigrant detention centers. And then GEO Group, which we know has its
hands in the incarceration, the prison industrial complex internationally, globally yeah? So they experienced great drops in their stocks in the New York Stock Exchange on the day in which the
Department of Justice made that announcement. But for folks who are interested in living in a world where we deal with conflict and harm differently, we cannot rest on this advancement, if we could
call it that yeah? We can't rest on this that, because this is the fodder of the Democratic Party of Liberal, that we just get rid of the private prisons that's safe enough for us to do. But we have
to make commitments to getting rid of all forms of incarceration and surveillance in this country, yeah.
And in doing so, the American empire, it impacts the rest of the world. So, you know, here we say, as the south goes so does the country, or as New York goes, so does the country. Well, mostly for
worse, as the American empire goes, so does many, many other, so do many other forms of incarceration or the prison industrial complex throughout the world. So we can't rest here, that their stock
is that these people don't know what they want, that the Black Lives Matter movement, they do not know what they want, they do not have demands, they're out here protesting, and we are, and shutting
shit down, that's what we do. But, we also advance public policy and we also win things. We also win things, we have won things, and by we I mean a collection of multiple organizations and formations
across the country. But Mariame is going to talk a lot more about Chicago and how special Chicago is in this whole thing.
So what I have up here is the Agenda to Build Black Futures, which is the economic justice platform that BYP 100 released in 2016, in February 1st, 2016, in which we articulated what we believe to be
a bold vision for how we could shift the way our economy works in order to improve the material conditions of black people. And so we look at things from reparations, being very unapologetic about
the demand for reparations, yeah? And we call for reparations, in addition for chattel slavery, also for Jim Crow, the Jim Crow era, economic segregation that we find in this moment and prior to this
moment, and also mass incarceration. We want reparations for everything, all of it, yeah?
And one central way in which we've done that is our anti-policing work, by calling for a divestment from policing and an investment in black communities. We also were very explicit to have an entire
section on supporting trans wealth and health, and not just like, melding into the one piece around black women, because we could have done that, value the work of women's work, but we wanted to be
really clear about what black people were talking about in this. And then the last thing I'll lift up is about divestment and eliminating profit from punishment yeah? So that's not just private
prisons, we've also learned that the DOJ is advancing a policy to prevent people from, and I may get the language wrong, from holding people in jails just because they can't pay their bill, yeah?
Which, I can't help think about that, the possibilities that if something like that existed, maybe Kalief Browder would still be here today right? Kalief Browder was incarcerated at Rikers Island
unjustly. Not as though there's a just reason. And, then the next piece about what we actually are calling for and what we want, is the Vision for Black Lives that was recently released, how many of
you all have heard about this, A Vision for Black Lives?
Oh, okay. Good, well I'm happy for many of you if this is your first time hearing about it. So the Movement for Black Lives is a formation of several groups that exists, that are doing work across the
country, and over 50 organizations for the past year have come together to develop a public policy agenda to advance black liberation in our lifetimes, right? So it goes from economic justice to
community control, political power an invest, divest frame, reparations, and also ending the war on black people. So you can check that out on the Movement for Black Lives' website. And these are
just some of the organizations that are doing work in this moment. And I want to be really clear about that this is just some. These are just a few. So we have organizations like Cooperation Jackson
that comes out of the Malcolm X grassroots movement. The Black Lives Matter network. Southerners on New Ground. Assata's Daughters, the Fight for 15, Project South. Several groups. And I think it's
especially important to say this in a room like this. It's not simply about the media giving a false story about what this work is about, because that is a part of it. But we actually do ourselves a
disservice when we believe that our movements are limited to one or two organizations. We have a responsibility to tell the full scope, because when we tell the fuller scope and the broader scope of
our work, we demonstrate much more of our power. And we also give more space to invite more people into our work, right? So you're not between the ages of 18 and 35, that's okay.
There's room for you in this movement. In fact our work has always been inter-generational. It has never just been 18 to 35 year-olds right? We've worked alongside folk in addition to the people I
mentioned before like Cathy Cohen and Barbara Ransby, and elders and veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. We've done work, intergenerational work. We represent groups that do
direct action, groups that use digital technology to leverage their work. It's a range of things. And as I close out, I just want to show you all some visuals of what our work looks like on a
day-to-day basis, and how we actually are doing work collectively with each other, and what it looks like tangibly for our people who put their bodies on the line, or we put our bodies on the line
because I'm one of them. And the images that you see here are from the most recent national day of action that the Movement for Black Lives hosted, the Freedom Now action. And in them, the first
picture with the Divest from Police in Prisons and Fund Black Futures, is an image from Detroit. The middle one is in Washington, D.C. in which BYP 100 D.C. and BLM D.C. shut down the perimeter of
essentially the Fraternal Order of Police there, their legislative headquarters in Washington, D.C., for 17 hours.
And the last photo is an image of a blockade that BYP 100 Chicago Chapter staged in front of Holman Square. So Holman Square is a notorious, for lack of a better word, black site in which over 7,000
this place where we know to also be a torture site, and where we also know that black people lost their lives. Their lives were taken in this torture site. And so, this was all happening on the same
day, and we were actually in four or five different states on this one particular day. What's even more important about this action is that we did it in collaboration with the Let Us Breath
Collective. And they're this dope group of folks who combine arts and healings and community-based work in Chicago, and particularly in the North Lawndale community, and they led a march on that day,
which led into what is now Freedom Square. And Freedom Square, it sits on the corner of Holman and Fillmore, right across from Holman Square, yeah? In which people come, hundreds of people have come
to get political education, to build relationships with each other, to eat. People come to get meals because they don't have meals elsewhere. People have also come who are homeless to stay and build
community with other people. And you see in this picture there's a community garden that they're building, there's a young man in that picture who's actually from Ferguson, who was a part of the
Ferguson tent city for over 50 days, and has come to help build Freedom Square. And it's this beautiful space that exists right across what we know to be a major site of torture and state violence.
And to me, that is radical work. That is radical work, and as it grows it becomes more and more revolutionary.
That's not the only one. There's another space, very similar to this, in Oakland, called Qilombo, in Africatown. I just learned about this in the past week. And we should all know about it. They're
doing amazing work, they've occupied, not occupy because occupy is with the assumption that you don't actually have a right to that land. They have a right to this land, right? They have a right to
this land. A land that was taken, in this country when we talk about lands being taken from indigenous peoples, native peoples, right? And people who have farmed and cultivated the land for decades.
And so Africatown exists. These are the things that are also happening in this moment, in this movement work. And so anytime you hear someone saying that these young people don't know what they want,
they have no vision, look to Freedom Square, look to Qilombo, look to the work of organizations in your own neighborhood. Look there first. Look to the amazing work that black trans women are doing
all over the country, not to just save their lives but to also assert, assert their humanity and their fullness and their beauty as human beings, as people yeah? Sit with that. And know that no one
owns any idea. In this movement. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi brought together the concept of Black Lives Matter, and have shared that with more people than they can count. And that
is the beauty of black liberation movement building, through a feminist approach, through a process of clearing, because within that, we don't make some of the same moves that we've seen in the past,
and we make much more room for all black people, and people who are also committed to black liberation even if you aren't black. So, thank you.
>> Hi Sociologists.
I don't admit that I'm one, usually. But I want to thank everybody for the invitation, I'm grateful to be here, I'm grateful to be on a panel with people that I admire and that I learn from all the
time, Charlene and Kim. And since we are in a gathering of a bunch of sociologists, I haven't been back to A.S.A. for about 15 years, there are lots of reasons for that. But one of the great parts
about, I guess for me, my journey over time has been that I've gotten to learn a lot from particular sociologists and they've been inspirations to me and have given me a frame through which to see
the world that has helped me to work to transform it, and so I want to kind of shout out a few people. Pitta Tankerdie at McGill who was the first person who told me I thought like a
sociologist. I should blame her for that, she got me to major in sociology as an undergrad. Then I get to work later on with Bill Cornbloom at CUNY who was a great mentor and friend, and then at
Northwestern I learned from Aldon and I learned from Wendy Espelon and from Charles Payne. And then a whole bunch of really amazing black women sociologists have shaped my world view over the
years and so I need to call them out and call their names, say their names out loud. I want to thank Beth Richie, I want to thank Kim Crenshaw, I want to thank Mary Patillo , I want to thank
Patricia Hill-Collins, I want to thank Bill Nabsoski , I want to thank Dorothy Roberts, I want to thank Alandra Nelson, I want to thank more recently Carla Shed. Sociology does a terrible
job of lifting up black women, and I think we should be lifting up more of them.
>> Yeah. More of them. For they are, for everything that they do but for their intellectual contributions upon which so much of the work that you're seeing today rests. So I am Mariame Kaba. I have
been doing work around, kind of anti-prison work, anti-violence work, and supporting youth leadership development now for several decades. I'm going to talk today specifically about a reparations
campaign. We call it Reparations Now, or WAN REP NOW, a campaign that I helped to co-lead, that led last year to, basically that the Chicago city Council passed the first ever law that gave
reparations to police torture survivors. And I think it's important.
Thanks. I think I want to talk specifically about the reparations ordinance and the work on reparations in the context of this Movement for Black Lives that's the current reiteration, as Charlene
says, of a movement that's a movement of long standing, a movement that has been going on for decades and generations, and that has its iteration today in a new kind of way but is still part of that
long line. And I think the reparations fight is an example, a concrete example of how that worked, and how that has worked. I also want to say that right now, the way that the story has gotten told,
or is getting told about how the Movement for Black Lives has advanced is in part that the movement doesn't have any demands, that the movement doesn't have any wins, that people don't really know
what they are trying to fight for, all of the things that Charlene brought to bear in terms of showing that that is not actually the case. But I think there's also another thing, which is that people
seem not to understand that the movement is actually a set of decentralized movements. That the way that it looks in Oakland is different from the way it looks in D.C., is different from the way it
looks in Nashville, and is different from the way it looks in Chicago. And that if you look at it as some one thing with three people at the head of it, that you're missing completely what's
happening. That you have no clue what's happening, you can't really describe it to anybody with any sort of authority. So I'm going to talk specifically about Chicago right now, because for me
Chicago is kind of the epicenter of the actualization of a lot of what the Movement for Black Lives wants, and is fighting for and has been talking about, and it's a place where we've had a lot of
wins, contrary to the way that people have also framed this as a movement without any. So I'm going to talk about the reparations ordinance that came to pass, was introduced in the City Council in
2013. But more than that, it's important for me to go back and tell you a story of kind of John Burge and police torture in Chicago.
How many of you have ever heard the name John Burge? Some, but a whole lot of you have not. And that is both by intent, because people wanted to squash the story, but also because we don't think of
ourselves as a country where people are tortured by police, we think of ourselves as a country where there's something nebulous called police brutality, which actually has no meaning in and of
itself. It's not police brutality, it's police actual torture and violence happening on a regular basis to people on a kind of host of different kinds of canvases and places. But, I'm putting up a
timeline of events but I'm not going to go through all of them, I just want you to see that, in 1972, there was a first allegation of police torture at a place called Area Two on the far south side
of Chicago. Somebody said that they had basically been literally tortured by Chicago police into giving a confession for a murder that they did not commit. One of the items of that torture that was
used is a device that is now termed the nigger box. The reason it was termed the nigger box is because it was painted black. But what they would do with the nigger box was to attach it to people's
extremities, whether it was their ears or their genitals, and then they would turn the crank and electrocute people using that nigger box. We know now that over 118 black people were tortured by John
Burge, a Police Commander in Area Two, starting in 1972, all the way until 1991, when he was finally removed from his job. He wasn't fired until 1993. They were tortured into giving confessions for
crimes that they did not commit. In some cases, few of them, for crimes that they actually probably committed. But some of those men, in particular men, were put on Death Row in Illinois. And they
came together as the Death Row 10 to fight for their innocence, along with their families. And it was through their activism, and the activism of many lawyers, and a particular journalist named John
Conroy who started writing pieces in a publication called The Chicago Reader, to expose what had happened with John Burge. It's through them that we finally started to understand what the scope of
this torture was. But I think it's important, as we're talking about kind of some of the instruments that were used, here is a particular etching that was made by Andrew Wilson, who wrote that he was
etched into the interrogation room using a paper clip, that he was being tortured and that he was admitting that he did this but he hadn't actually done this. Some of those men who were tortured and
on Death Row were commuted into life sentences after Death Row was abolished, after, you know, Ryan, one of our Governors, one of the many that ends up in prison, he went to prison. But anyway, what
ends up happening in this case is that he commutes all of those sentences and those men get life in prison instead, a form of social death anyway. And they, some of them are still in prison even to
this day, after knowing full well what has happened to them and what happened to them. This is Andrew Wilson who was the first who took a pro se himself, put himself and tried to fight his case from
behind bars. And it was through Andrew Wilson and the People's Law Office that we finally really began to understand the scope of the issue.
Sorry, let me just backtrack here. So I wanted to kind of give you that background and that history, to understand that this has been a 40-year struggle for justice for the survivors of police torture
in Chicago. And that many different kinds of people were involved. And that by the time it gets to the WAN REP NOW campaign, we are at a point where people have pushed internationally, have gone to
the U.N., have done all sorts of things to get this issue brought to bear. And that all of a sudden, after many, many years, John Burge, in 2010, is convicted of perjury for lying about the torture,
but never actually convicted for torture. And the reason that's important is, first, the statute of limitations ran out. But secondly, that after he was convicted, he got four years in prison for
what happened, a lot of people felt like, what the hell? We fought so hard through the system and this is what we get as justice? Meanwhile all the survivors get almost nothing. The statute of
limitation has run out for most of them and they're left completely psychologically tortured, still, from what they experienced, without any resources, without any help. So what have we been fighting
for in the end? So people felt really kind of depression, and out of that depression came a group of folks called the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, who put out a call, in 2011, to people all
across Chicago to say, how would you memorialize the torture that happened here? What are some speculative memorials that we can come up with that would make sure that people know about what happened
and that they never forget that this happened? And so through art, the idea of a reparations ordinance emerged, through art. That's important too, because in our movements, we think about art as
superfluous or tangential, when in fact art is essential to our being able to get free. And this experience and this example of people coming together show the importance of centering art, to help us
kind of come up with an imagination of things that could be, outside of the things we kind of constantly turn to, as remedies or redress for violence and for, you know, torture.
So we end up in a place where we decide in 2014, we're fighting for a lot of things, there's a group that Aldon mentioned that I was part of called We Charge Genocide that decides to take the case of
police torture and police violence against young people to the United Nations. So, and, we also then, you know, in the summer, in August, Mike Brown is killed. So there's all this stuff swelling in
the air and going on and we're thinking this is a great moment for us to take this reparations ordinance as something concrete, and to demand that the city of Chicago acknowledge the torture that it
oversaw, and that its gatekeepers actually conducted, and that it's important for us to make sure that these survivors, who no longer have legal standing, to be able to get redress, get some form of
redress. And so we came up with this, a person named Joey Mogul who's amazing, a great lawyer, movement lawyer in Chicago, talked to a bunch of people and came up with an ordinance that said we
wanted money for what happened, that we wanted education for the survivors and their families and their grandchildren, and that we wanted opportunities for jobs for those people, and that we wanted a
public memorial in Chicago, that we wanted a public apology for what had happened, by the Mayor and the City Council, and that we wanted a whole series of different kinds of redress and remedies that
would actually make a difference and that would actually help to kind of repair in some way, to the extent that we could, the harm that had occurred through that torture. And we fought. And we won,
last year. And when I stood at the City Council and I saw them apologize to survivors who were young when they tortured them and now who are old men, who stood there, I thought to myself, you know,
direct organizing gets the goods. It does.
>> It does. It does, it matters. It matters. So, the Reparations Now campaign is based on an expansive and transformative vision of justice. And within transformative justice framework we ask a few
questions, we ask what went wrong and what happened? And the excavation of that history that I showed a little part of was part of figuring out what happened and what went wrong. We asked who has
been harmed and we make sure they're centered. And in this case it was torture survivors and their families and their communities and so, throughout the whole entire campaign, led by the Chicago
Torture Justice Memorials, Amnesty International came onboard to help lead that campaign, Project N.I.A., and We Charge Genocide, we always centered survivors and their families within the entire
campaign. The next question is, how do we repair the harm? And the CTJM ordinance was an example of that. It's also an example, for me as an abolitionist, of an abolitionist's demand, and an
abolitionist document, that we can actually use, without relying on the traditional ways that we constantly rely on to try to get justice. It is, in my belief, a futile exercise to continue to press
constantly for the prosecutions of the gatekeepers of the state. The state will not tell on itself. It is ridiculous.
it's not going to yield results, and we are not going to succeed and we're not going to get free that way. So how do you repair harms? Think about abolitionist demands and documents that can actually
get you there. Then, finally, the other two are what can we do to prevent this in the future, and then what is my, meaning my community, state and country's responsibility to aid in that prevention?
So at every level we asked ourselves these questions, and we let these questions guide us into the campaign, and I want to end by showing you a video that gives you a general sense of all the
different tactics and strategies we used in the Reparations Now campaign to win what we won last year, and then I'm going to sit down because I actually do stick to the 20-minute guidelines that they
give me, that's shocking, I know. Leaving academia can do that for you, so.
Just kidding, just kidding. So if you will show the video that will be great, thank you very much.
>> I believe in Chicago.
>> I believe in a brighter future.
>> I believe in myself.
>> I believe in my parents.
>> I believe in education.
>> I believe in life.
>> I believe in value.
>> Beautiful. Good afternoon. So it is a special honor for me to be here and I really want to thank Ruth Milkman and Aldon Morris for inviting me back again for another stint with the sociologists
here. And I'm also particularly delighted, not just to share the podium with Mariame and Charlene, but to embody this new moment in which conversations about racial justice can be had with women in
the center of the conversation.
That's an important milestone, I'm very proud to be part of it. I'm also honored to, again, have this opportunity to join sociologists, particularly not being one myself. This is, I think maybe the
third gathering that I've come to, and I've really appreciated the opportunity to lean into conversations that would really be foreign to my own profession at law. I think the last time I was, as
part of the central meeting, the conversation was on race and utopias. One could get a little bit of whiplash moving from that conversation to this one, particularly what's happened over the last
couple of years since we had that. In any event it's always a pleasure to be with you all. I'm really grateful because this is a moment where what had been called the end of race with the election of
Barack Obama is now concluding with a level of racial demagoguery and violence that we haven't seen, some say decades, I would say generations. At the same time resistance to, and by resistance I
mean Black Lives Matter, I mean all of the ways that we have pushed back against this attempt to erase race, has sometimes been met with claims that we are engaging in racial grievance politics, that
we are making race consistently salient, that we are not moving in the spirit of post-racialism. So what is particularly exciting about this moment is I think it's clear that post-racialism is over.
And now the question is, what period are we in now? So some people would say that we are returning to a period before the purple haze of post-racialism, I want to say that we're in a post-post-racial
moment. So there really is a morning after and it's not pretty.
So the question is what do we make of this I I ideological moment, what do we make of this protest within this ideological moment? And one thing that is clear is it constitutes a repudiation of the
embargo on race talk, racial agitation, racial protesting, it is a moment where we're moving away from that particular mistake. But it's also important that as we move away from that mistake and
notion that we're post-racial, that we acknowledge that not all race talk had been embargoed, even during that post-racial moment right? So we can see it in the Presidential campaign even now, there
is race talk still going on among those who claim to be color-blind or among those who claim to be post-racial, if we look at any social problem that we have, including the problem of state police
violence, you will have those who will use race talk to justify what's happening. Race talk is race talk that claims that the problems in African-American communities are problems having to do with
poor values, lack of investment in future behavior, failure to pull up pants, failure to have full nuclear family formations, all of these, or listening to the wrong music, all of these have been
used as justifications for the level of violence, the level of disparity, the level of marginalization of black communities from the community. So this is basically race talk without racism. When
racial difference is talked about, without racial power being part of it, it is an equation that amounts to the problem is an individual-level problem. It is a group problem, it's a cultural problem.
It is not a structural problem, it is not an institutional problem. So we are witnessing, in this moment, the return of very old and long-standing ideas about inherent inequalities of black peoples
and black communities, and these ideas have pushed up against efforts to reform and make our society into a racial equitable one.
Now, that much goes I think pretty much without saying, although it took me three minutes to say it, but what I want to say is that the current crises around racial inequality is not simply the
product of racial intolerance having overcome the forces that have been mobilizing for racial injustice. What I want to suggest is that they are ideologically and materially, at least in part, the
product of a very successful counter reform effort in the law, that has so grossly undermined demands for structural reform, that we've even lost sense in popular discourse about the difference
between an institutional level kind of intervention and individual level interventions. So, for example, that we can even possibly have a conversation about a program like My Brother's Keeper in the
context of a conversation about racial terrorism against black people, is evidence of the fact that we do not have a structural analysis, and that much of what counts as racial policy intervention is
more the level of the individual and the cultural, not the level at which we need it. Now, I would submit that what this is a conversation about is the way that police violence, that's permitted to
continue when the constitutional and legal rules are largely not providing any kind of prophylactic protection, when that problem is completely off the table. And so if you look at the conversations
that we've had about police violence, you look for example at the recent town hall with the President, what was not discussed was structural reform, what was not discussed was Constitutional
rule-making, what was not discussed was a version of democracy that allows the majority to create the kind of police force they want, and not a police force that has anything to do with equity. When
we can't have those kind of conversations, we are not in a moment beyond the post-racial haze. So some part of this is rethinking what's off the table and figuring out how to put them back on the
table, and the other part of it goes to what principally I want to talk about now, and it's the way that the prevailing frames around racism continue to center masculinity as the essential geography
of racial power, and that centering continues to limit the scope of social justice transformation.
Now this current movement, in particular, the imperative of Black Lives Matter, simply, powerfully and uncompromisingly contests the socially explicit meaning of this retrenchment that I've described.
It's a bold reframing of the color blind imperative that reveals what its deadly consequences have been. Yet I want to say that the challenge remains how do we go about engendering this discourse.
Everyone knows that police killings of African Americans have been on the forefront of the conversation about racial inequality for at least the last two years, yet black women face a long and tragic
history of racialized violence, including the risk of sexual abuse by officers and death at the hands of vigilantes and intimates alike. Conversely, the narrow scope of their visibility, and the
salience of what has happened to black women, undermines our ability to have a broad, inclusive set of demands around state violence. Little is known about the scope of the sorts of vulnerabilities
that make black women subject to this kind of violence, and it rarely reaches the level of salience that is sufficient to galvanize resistance in their names. Now, we know that these tragedies have
been framed in fairly predictable ways but what's interesting is they're framed in that way both by critics and by those who are contesting state violence. Now, this challenge about how to rethink
and how to reframe this issue is one that goes beyond our individual orientation, it goes beyond our commitment to anti-racism and beyond our commitment to feminism, it's part of a social, cultural
attribution of meaning that we all are a part of. So, in that spirit I want to provoke us to take a full measure of what we don't see and what we do see and why we have to say her name. I hope you
all will be willing to participate with me in this for a moment. Those of you who can, I would like to ask everybody just to stand.
Okay, now that we're standing I'm going to say some names. If you hear a name that you do not know and you do not know the circumstances that this name is made relevant to this conversation, sit down.
And the last few people who are standing I'm going to ask you to tell me something about the name that you know. Okay? All right are we ready? All right, Mike brown. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Freddie
Gray. Alton Sterling. Philando Castillo. Okay, now for just a moment, I want everybody to turn around and look at the room. All right? Maya Hall. All right this is going to be shorter than I thought
it was going to be.
Tunisia Anderson. Natasha McKenna. Ara Russer . Jessica Williams. Meagan Hockaday. Okay, so I was just kidding when I said that I was going to have a little quiz, it reinforces transparency.
[laughter and applause]
So we all know the names of the first six names, they are African American men who have been killed by police within the last two years. What we also did not know is that the names of the women that I
mentioned were all women who were killed within days, sometimes weeks, of the men whose names you did know. All killed by the police. Now, the fact that we didn't know them, that very few of us knew
more than two or three are of them, doesn't necessarily tell us, or constitute a testament about whether we care or not. It's evidence of the ways that the framing of an issue, particularly its
representative subjects, constitutes powerful narratives. It shapes the way we think and the way we talk and the way we move in response to a particular issue. It means that those who consider
ourselves to be part of the community of resistance, have to make the critical effort to disrupt the practice of reading out the bodies of black women, girls and fems. So our Say Her Name symbol is a
word puzzle, in part because we want to signify that this involves the work of critical seeing, a commitment to sorting out the names of those who have been lost between the narrative lines of
anti-black police violence. So you actually have to look into the word puzzle to find those names. Now, knowing their names is a necessary but not sufficient condition to lifting up their stories,
which in turn provides a sharper view of the wide-ranging circumstances that make black bodies disproportionately subject to state violence. To lift their stories though, we need to know who they
are, how they lived, and why they suffered at the hands of police. Now the clearest illustration of the vulnerability of black women and girls is that so many of those names are unknown even to us
who care deeply about this issue. It's a vicious cycle that leaves too many of us to assume that because their names are not known, women and girls are not at risk. Yet girls, as young as seven and
as old as 93, women as old as 93, have been killed by the police. They've been killed in their living rooms and on the streets, in their cars and in their bedrooms, in front of their children and in
front of parents. They've been killed when they or their family members have sought help. They have been killed when men they were with were targeted. They have been killed when they were alone. They
were killed driving while black, shopping while black, being homeless while black, having a mental disability while black, having a domestic dispute while black. They've been killed using a
cellphone, turning into an NSA parking lot, driving near the White House with an infant strapped in the back seat, and sitting in a car reported as stolen. That they are women does virtually nothing
to counter the excuses that were given for the use of deadly force against them. They've been described by police as possessing super human strength, as being utterly tireless, as wordlessly posing a
mortal threat to the officers by simply the look on their faces.
No matter their physical or mental condition, their age, or circumstance, they were never seen as damsels in distress, or women in crises, or being a woman who is distraught or who is in fear. They
were instead regarded to be out of control figures, that warranted violent suppression and punishment. Now this vulnerability to police violence is an experience that they do share with black men.
And like their male counterparts, their children will cry for them, their parents and family will mourn them, and the officers that stole their lives will most probably escape accountability for
taking them. What they do not share in common with their fallen brothers is the fact that their loss of life will garner the public attention, communal outcry, or political response that others have.
There were no mass demonstrations over the death of Natasha McKenna, even though her institutionalized killing at the hands of six officers, who swarmed, shackled, hooded and tasered her four times,
was filmed and released to the public, supposedly to affirm the claim that the officers operated in an entirely professional manner. Virtually no one knows the name of Tanisha Anderson who was killed
by the Cleveland police a little more than a week before the tragic death of Tamir Rice. There's been no sustained advocacy for Mya Hall, who in Baltimore was killed by the NSA just days before
Freddie Gray. Jessica Williams is a mother of five and pregnant with her sixth. She's also a woman who died four weeks before Philando Castillo, after what police claim was an attempt to get away in
a stolen car, but her name has not been mentioned among the African Americans recently killed by the police, and most recently, as Charlene has mentioned, Korynn Gaines shot by a S.W.A.T. team in
Baltimore after they cut her Facebook broadcast. She's also not usually mentioned in the roll call of the dead.
So will the frame of racialized state violence be capacious enough to fully acknowledge those lost lived and to demand the public's burning demand for accountability? These were some of the questions
burning in our souls when many of us marched in the protest over Eric Garner, and like others we called out the names of Mike Brown and Tamir Rice and Eric Garner but we also called the names of Ara
Russer and Michelle Cusseaux.. And we urge others to say these names with us. Ultimately with Angela Richie we wrote a report to provide those names, and to open up the frames to understand and to
hold their stories, so Say Her Name grew out of that moment as an imperative, a plea, a demand, a reminder that women and girls are beaten, maimed, shocked, shoved and shot, and sexually abused, as
well. In fact, sexual abuse is the second most common complaint against the police, yet until recently it has been virtually absent in most discourses about police violence, and in discourses about
violence against women, as well. It is, of course, both, just as discrimination against black women is both race and gender discrimination, but the conventional ways of locating the problem of sexual
abuse in the private arena, and police abuse in the public arena, essentially erases the way that marginalized women are subject to sexual abuse by officers of the state.
Now, the case of Daniel Holtzclaw, I hope many of you had heard about it by now, in Oklahoma City, illustrates the intersectional vulnerability of socially marginalized women renders them vulnerable
to sexual abuse by cop. And, how conventional rhetorics about racialized violence obscure the problem. Evidence that led to his conviction for assaulting eight black women demonstrated that he
profiled black women while driving or walking, pulled them over, as the Supreme Court allows him to do, and then forced them to perform specific acts, which the Supreme Court does not allow to do. At
least 13 women testified that this had happened to them, those who were particularly vulnerable with those with a history of system involvement, involvement in the sex trade, chemical dependency, or
poor. As his defense strategy made clear, these women were those who were unlikely to call police, and they knew that they wouldn't be believed even if they did. So Holtzlclaw was sentenced to 263
years, but this individual outcome shouldn't obscure the fact that the case received very little coverage in the mainstream media, nor was it a site that drew the attention of national feminist or
anti-racist protests. The recent report from the Department of Justice casts some light on police abuse of sexual assault victims, and the harassment of transgender women in Baltimore, but even this
report says little about the police as agents of sexual abuse, or about black women as particularly vulnerable populations. And while we're thinking about it, let's just think more broadly about what
we know about black women as victims of homicide. How many of us know the name of Ted Bundy? How many of us know the name of Lonnie Franklin Jr.? Lonnie Franklin Jr. was just convicted two weeks ago
of the homicide of ten black women in Los Angeles, estimates are that high probably killed more than 35 to 50 women. We don't know anything about this right? Again, a particular way in which framing
of certain issues excludes women who are subject to intersectionality racism. So this intersectional vulnerability and political marginalization of black women is nothing new. Beth Richie, for
example, in her powerful book Arrested Justice, provides a powerful portrait of the particular vulnerabilities that befall black women as a consequence of the withdrawal of public resources, the
abandonment of social supports, and the unleashing of the police to pretty much operate in the way they choose. These consequences are not unlike the picture painted by Danny McGuire's excellent
portrayal of Rosa Park's activism on behalf of black women sexually abused in the rural south during the dawn of the Civil Rights movement. Richie, McGuire and others point out the realities that
racial justice has never been exclusively gendered as male, nor has the struggle for it. But to deploy an age-old aphorism, does racial injustice without a frame make a sound? And if not, how do we
speak it?
There are any number of implications that can be drawn from this marginalized space with respect to research priorities, activism and policy demands, it's all important work, it's work we all do, but
there's still a sense that there's something fundamentally missing, a level of urgency that's difficult to muster. It's as if the voices that would call out to us are muffled, either by our own
inability to hear, or to see the cumulative reality and the cost of this violence. Some would say that the killings and abuse of black women are just not observable because there aren't videos of it
and thus it's not mobilizing, but this pales beside the video of Natasha McKenna. In this cold, sterile, institutional setting, there was something innervating, an inability to read what we were
seeing inside the emotionally resonant frames of other tortures, like what happened in Abu Ghraib or to Mike Brown or what happened historically with lynchings. ,So one of the things that my
colleagues and I tried to do was to reframe it, to give the cues, to say this is what's happening here. But in doing so we discovered that indeed there are dozens of images, online, that captures
violence against black women. So I would like to invite to you encounter this violence, to witness it fully, and as we pause at the end of it, to lift up the names of those who did not survive this
violence. If you choose and if you are so moved, at the very end of the video I'm about to show, there is a scroll of dozens of names of black women who were killed by the police. They can be called
out randomly, loudly, making a cacophony of sound, as a practice not only of remembrance, but a precursor and the embodiment of action. I have to give you a trigger warning, these images are
disturbing. I also want to name the name of the vocalist who has brought this project to life, Abby Dobson, I ask you to hold the space until the conclusion of her vocals. Thank you.
>> Natasha, we're here to take you out.
>> You promised you wouldn't kill me. You promised you wouldn't kill me. You promised you wouldn't kill me.
Say, say her name. Say, say her name. Say, say her name. Say, say her name. Say, say her name. Say, say her name. Say, say their names. Say, say their names. Say their names for all the names I cannot
say. Say their names for all the names I'll never know. Say their names, black girls matter. Say their names, black women matter. Say their names, black girls matter. Say their names, black women
matter. Sing our song full of the faith of the darkest daughters, sing our song full of the hope of that the risen has brought. Facing the rising sun of a new day begun. Lift every voice and sing,
say, say her name. Say her name.
>> We have about ten minutes for questions, we'll extend it to ten but I'd like a couple of minutes at the end if that's okay. So you want to just open it up or?
>> Sure. Let's give our presenters a round of applause.
We thank you for bringing insight and informing us of things we ought to know, and hopefully that this will enrich our sociological imagination. We now, I think, have about ten minutes for Q&A and, so
anyone who would like to make a statement or raise questions now is the time.
>> My name is Abigail Sul, I'm an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Emory University. I am a black trans-masculine queer activist, I was a activist long before I was a sociologist, and I've been
incarcerated. So I'm kind of coming out and prefacing my question. In graduate school one of the first things we read about activism and its impact on our lives was a paper by Doug McAdam that showed
that if you showed up to a direct action event, that you had less family ties, lower education, basically your life sucked, 20, 30 years down the line. And it was, it said something to me, as an
activist trying to be a sociologist in what I thought was a transformative discipline, it told me not to show up, and then I showed up anyway, and I keep showing up.
I was actually at the Black Lives Matter D.C. Occupation of the National Fraternal Order of Police and took pictures, and had people, and heard people saying the names, and realized that the black
radical tradition had never left, but I did not learn that from the books, I learned that from being in the streets. And my question for you is, and it's really for all of you, is that there are a
lot of policies out there that I think are ineffective because they're not structural policies. So for instance the one policy, the DOJ policy, only affects 13 prisons.
>> Right.
>> What is that really going to do for us? So if we don't have an evidence base that is transformative, how can we have a policy base that is transformative? Thank you.
>> Let's hear the other two questions, take them all at one time and then get responses.
>> Hello, I'm Melvin Thomas, Nevada State University. We've have been embarrassed about a lack of knowledge. I'd like to know, is there a database or central source where we can get information about
all the black men and women, boys and girls, who have been killed by the police? Is there some place we could go so we can get informed?
>> Hi I'm John Docherty, I'm a student at Santa Clara University. My question is, we talked a lot about state violence which is, of course, hugely important because of the power that the state has
allows them to, you know, do atrocious things without being accountable. But I'm also interested in private citizens so, you know, the violence they commit, so hate crimes, employment discrimination,
micro-aggressions, sexual violence, etcetera, and so I'm wondering the strategy and the tactics we use to fight those, are they similar, different, a little bit of both? How do you fight, you know,
racism in the civilian world? Thank you.
>> Okay, hi my name is Gunlist Berken, I come from University of Oslo in Norway, and although I feel my heart is still, you know, I mean what, the movies we've seen have been really difficult to
relate to, but I still have a question that might not be very popular here. I come from Europe and we usually have this idea that politics and academic research are two different things, and today
here I have the feeling that this distinction is slightly blurred, and I was a bit surprised because many of us are researchers and we want to learn more and ourselves contribute with our research,
to helping people in the world to understand our own societies better. And what I've heard today is very strong statements for people who are activists and I enjoyed listening to them, but I was a
bit surprised that American Sociology wouldn't give a little bit more time to show how sociology as a critical discipline can have a difference to what goes on in the world, to enable us or to
understand things better. So I guess this is a question to the organizers of the session, where's the difference, sociology is not an activist activity, sociology is an academic discipline. Okay,
thank you.
>> Well. For me, I've never thought as sociology as some kind of ivory tower thing that you, by removing yourself from the real world, removing yourself from activism, somehow you reach objectivity.
To me.
To me, to me the whole notion of value, neutrality, is a sham.
When I studied the history of our discipline, the people who claim to be most objective, the most value-neutral, had all kinds of political agendas. And so that.
So that the claim about objectivity to me is a smokescreen to hide behind. So I think for me, I don't see a separation between scholarship and activism, I think that they go hand in hand, and I think
that some of the greatest sociologists and social scientists have been those who are involved in activism and trying to bring about change and so, in the final analysis then, for me, sociology is and
ought to be an emancipatory project.
>> All right.
a bit and I actually produce research that people use in action to change the world. I also, you know, I also happen to also be an organizer too. I don't see these things as. No that's not true. I
think that some in the discipline want to enforce and discipline others into not being that, and I think you lose a lot of people that you could have in the discipline by those kinds of rigid
differentiations that are really only true in a few people's heads. So I think, you know, especially if you're a young person in the audience and right now and you're a student and you're getting
ready to start, don't let them make you into something you are not, if you are already somebody who organizes, you're allowed to be both.
>> So I'm not entirely sure if I fully understood your question about, it was if we don't have the body of evidence then how can we have informed policy. Was that the correct question?
>> Yes.
>> Okay. So, you know, I think for the, particularly the public policies that I share with you all today that have been developed by both BYP 100 and the broader Movement for Black Lives, is that it
is grounded in the hundreds of years of experience and evidence that we have from socialists, via WEB DuBois, historians, political scientists, artists. That's what that is grounded in. It is
grounded in an understanding of what has come before us, what was missing from that, and actually a much broader picture of the conditions of black people, and providing a vision for a way forward,
right? And so I think that that's how we approach public policy, and we don't see public policy as a means to, as the final means of liberation, it is one piece in a broader, like how do you, how do
you place into policy that actually this land that we are on right now has been occupied by federal colonialists and that that needs to change right, and that people actually have a right to liberate
land. That can't be whittled down into just one public policy. So, I do think we have the evidence that informs our public policy, and even some of the hard sciences, a lot of our policy is also
based off of the work that Dr. Cathy Cowan has performed of the University of Chicago. She has oodles of bodies of research and of data and evidence that informs the work that we do.
The second piece that I wanted to be sure to lift up is that just as much as academics have the ability, or scholars have the ability to be activists and actually advance an agenda of social justice,
they also have the ability to create lots and lots of trouble and harm and violence, and one person in particular I think about is John Delulio. Now he's not, you know, in your tradition of
sociology, becomes as a political scientist, and performed the study that has been debunked, that was based in so-called evidence of the super predator, which was used as a foundation for the 1994
crime bill that Bill Clinton, and also now Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton advocated for, right? And so, you all have a responsibility as scholars to, the work that you do actually does
matter. Whether or not you decide it will be used for activism or not, it has the ability and potential for it to be used that way.
So, we have to ground, you all, my call to you is if you are not working out of a frame of transformative justice, out of a frame of abolition, one that goes broader than individual, interpersonal
violence, that it includes that, yes. If you are not doing that, my call to you is that you do. Is you take those things up.
>> I'll say two very quick things. I do want to acknowledge that the division that our European colleague mentioned, it was framed as a European-American divide but let's be honest, it's not a
European-American divide. There are plenty of Europeans that would identify some of the work that we do as being legitimate and there are plenty of Americans who would identify it as not. So these
are tensions that are not simply regional or continental but they often get framed that way, and we might want to think about what work it does to actually frame it as you all do this work and we do
something else. I could make a move that's somewhat similar by saying that much of what we talk about as lawyers is the impact of certain rules. How rule making actually creates licenses for police
departments, for example, to have stop-and-frisk policies that violate constitutional rights. We could talk about much of the same thing that we talked about here, and it would be recognized as being
within the discipline of law. We have to remember discipline means something right? We call it a discipline for reasons that we really need to interrogate, so this is really I think an important
moment for us to really grapple with what are the ways that we have abided by certain ways of thinking about what counts as legitimate knowledge, and how that has functioned to more or less
legitimize a whole range of social outcomes that we're deeply troubled about. So I think this is an important moment, I'll add the last piece, someone asked about information. This is one of the
problems, there really isn't a consistent, coherent requirement that's made by the federal government to keep the data that's necessary for us to have a full picture of exactly the kind of problem
that we're talking about. That, in turn, is a problem. It's a data problem, it's also a political problem, we need to be able to have spaces like these where we talk about the political consequences
of not having access to precisely the data that we need. Last thing is you can get information from the Washington Post and the Guardian about all of the killings by police that have happened between
Thank you.
>> I think our panelists have answered the colleague from Norway's question better than I can but I will just say that as the person who dreamed up having a panel on this topic, I thought it would be
useful for our discipline to hear directly from the leaders of the movement that you just heard about. It was not intended to be necessarily considered sociological theory or analysis but rather raw
material that will help us all understand the world around us a little better, and there are hundreds of sessions at this conference as you know and many of them are in the more traditional frame, so
Occupy Wall Street and the movements since then, which actually two of the speakers, Sarah Jaffe and Paul Mason are journalists, they're not activists but they're journalists, and the third is Fran
Piven who you all know as both a scholar and an activist. And then following that plenary there is going to be a meeting in this room, now this is on the late side, the opposite of the film I
announced tomorrow morning, at 9:45, led by a group called Sociologists for Justice, and they're interested in having a discussion about what sociologists can do about the issues you just heard
about. So if you have time and interest and energy please come to that even as well. And with that I'm going to wrap up this session and thank you all very much for being here.