Dear D5 for Black Lives Community,

Since our last newsletter, White supremacists attempted a coup on the US Capitol. A violent mob waved Trump flags and posed for selfies with Capitol police. As many have noted, if the perpetrators had been Black, police would have responded with deadly force. Today, Representative Ayanna Pressley, a Black woman from MA, reported that all of the panic buttons in her office had been removed, suggesting coordinated, insider support provided to the rioters.

Many elected officials, including the President-elect, argue that these acts are “entirely un-American”. But as National Book Award Winner, Dr. Ibram Kendi wrote in the Atlantic, “This is precisely who we are.” And continuing to deny the truth of the inequity and violence of racial capitalism will only maintain the status quo.

The D5 for Black Lives organizing team condemn these acts of violence and racism, but we are not surprised by them. We recognize the deeply entrenched culture of White supremacy in our country, our city, and in ourselves. Policing, inadequate access to healthcare, systemic focus on profit over human lives and growing income inequality disproportionately harms Black and Brown people in our community. We see it in the recent killing of Austinite Alexander Gonzales. We see it in the COVID pandemic. We see it in the long lines at food banks. We see it all occurring in the midst of the political division, violent unrest, and chaos that has become endemic to our time.

Where do we go from here?

This was precisely the question raised in 1968 by Dr. Martin Luther King in his final book before his assassination, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community.He acknowledged that while the civil rights legislation (Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965) would provide federal protection for Black Americans, he feared a rising resistance from White America to the kinds of structural and social change demanded by the movement. King’s response, not surprisingly, was to build community as a means of driving progress and expanding freedom.

Where do we, D5 for Black Lives, go from here?

We build community. Join us for our first community event of 2021 next week on Tuesday, January 19th from 5:30-6:30 pm. RSVP HERE. Our event will include a 30-minute presentation from the Austin Reimagining Task Force with an update on their progress, information about the murder of Alexander Gonzalez and the rush to re-start cadet classes, and how all of this relates moving money out of APD and into health and human services.

We continue to educate ourselves and one another. We invite you to check out this upcoming *free* weekly series “The Path to Racial Equity: Practical Steps Toward a More Equal Society” hosted by the LBJ School and local social justice organizations. You can attend one or all the sessions. Register HERE.

We take action for social change. We cannot do this work alone. There are 80,000 constituents in District 5. We need your help to connect with our neighbors so we can make change now. In the next week, invite 3 neighbors to sign up for our newsletters HERE.

In Solidarity,

D5 for Black Lives Organizing Team