From SOMA Justice; Editor’s note – Village Green took the video and photos that accompany this article:
On Friday, May 29, at 6:00 p.m., at the intersection of South Orange Avenue and SOPAC Way in South Orange, members of SOMA Justice will stage a DIE-IN to protest white supremacy, to honor victims of racist violence, to protest the disregard for Black life, and to demand that white Americans take official and personal accountability for their complicity in the everyday exploitation and devastation of Black Americans. The DIE-IN will last eight minutes, to reflect the length of time that Police Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to George Floyd’s neck, murdering him as he pleaded for his life and bystanders begged him to stop. The DIE-IN will be livestreamed on the SOMA Justice public facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SOMA-Justice-Addressing-Race-and-Inequality-472346896910002/
In 2020, white supremacy’s assault on Black communities remains constant. In all its forms — racial violence, police brutality, economic deprivation, public health inequities, educational malpractice, housing conditions, microaggressions and white complicity to name just a few — white supremacy continues to dehumanize and terrorize Black communities, and deprive our Black brothers and sisters of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
George Floyd is only one recent and widely known victim of this onslaught. We gather for Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered in cold blood on a suburban street. We gather for Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her own bed. We gather for Emerald Black, who was yanked from her car by police, and stomped upon so severely that she miscarried her pregnancy. We gather for all Black victims, whose names we know and those we do not. We gather to acknowledge white complicity and violence. We gather because the suffering of these families grieving the killing of their loved ones will never end.
“In our own towns in the last few years, white neighbors have called the police on Black residents waiting outside for friends, police have attacked and herded Black children trying to get home and brutally assaulted a disabled Black man, and a local business’s employee recently screamed slurs at a Black woman born and raised here, telling her to go back to her country.” says SOMA Justice’s founder Dr. Khadijah Costley White. “This is not separate from babies in cages or people gasping for air on the street or a pandemic that disproportionately kills Black people — we must work to end racist suffering inside and outside of our community, and all the conditions that allow it to continue.”
“We call on all white people to acknowledge our shared American tradition of racism and the impact it has on current race relations,” says Maplewood resident and DIE-IN organizer Dr. Jan Oosting Kaminsky. “We recognize that we have been beneficiaries of a violent system that oppresses and harms Black people and culture. We challenge white accomplices to affirmatively show support for our Black and Brown neighbors. We call for an immediate cessation of police and other white violence against our communities of color.”
Organizers urge all white people to take an immediate stand by seeking out and engaging in specific direct ACTION (rather than talk) that combats white and state sanctioned violence NOW. Possible direct actions are described in articles linked below.
DIE-IN participants are required to wear masks and to commit to strict social distancing practices.
SOMA Justice is a non-profit organization based in South Orange / Maplewood (SOMA), New Jersey that works to promote racial justice in SOMA and beyond, through discussion, community-building, and direct action. We do this in solidarity with other groups working against racism and injustice, such as People’s Organization for Progress in Newark, NJ, and Reclaim the Block in Minneapolis, MN, and all others working to center and recognize the importance and value of Black life.
SOMA Justice Public Page, with Livestream:
75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice : https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234
5 Ways White People Can Take Direct Action to Combat White and State Sanctioned Violence: https://medium.com/@surj_action/5-ways-white-people-can-take-action-in-response-to-white-and-state-sanctioned-violence-2bb907ba5277