Asheville DSA Racial Justice Values Statement

The Asheville Democratic Socialists of America has endorsed the following statement by our chapter’s Racial Justice Working Group.

We are the Racial Justice Working Group of Asheville DSA. Our purpose is to center racial equity, communities of color, womxn, poor & working class, LGBTQ+, etc. with an operating understanding that racial justice is intersectional. We look to the leadership, wisdom, and experience of communities of color in order to show up as accomplices in building community power and dismantling white supremacy.

Political Power

  • We stand in solidarity with Black AVL Demands not just for individual accountability for officers after lethal or violent use of force, but for accountability for the entire Asheville Police Department.
  • We stand in solidarity with Black AVL Demands to end the systemic harms inflicted on all Black people (including Black trans, queer, and gender-nonconforming people).
  • We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives in demanding independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society. We envision a remaking of the current U.S. political system in order to create a real democracy where Black people and all marginalized people can effectively exercise full political power.
  • We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives in demanding a world where those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us — from our schools to our local budgets, economies, police departments, and our land — while recognizing that the rights and histories of our Indigenous family must also be respected.
  • We stand in solidarity with #SayHerName in expanding efforts to address the experiences of all Black people combating police violence. An intersectional, Black feminist perspective — one that recognizes that categories such as race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation are not mutually exclusive — demands the inclusion of Black women and girls, transgender and not transgender, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual in the dominant discourse around police violence. No analysis of state violence against Black bodies can be complete without including all Black bodies within its frame.
  • We are committed to electing city officials that adopt and/or reflect a framework of solidarity with communities of color, including the city council candidates Nicole Townsend and Kim Roney, both endorsed by Asheville DSA in the spring.

Invest — Divest

  • We stand in solidarity with Black AVL Demands for a divestment from the police and investment in Black communities:
  • 50% of the APD’s budget should be invested in long-term safety strategies including supporting Black community, eliminating the racial opportunity gap in Asheville City Schools, and funding an all-civilian oversight committee with the power to hold the APD and individual officers accountable.
  • We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives in demanding investments in the education, health, and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people. We want investments in Black communities, determined by Black communities, and divestment from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance, and exploitative corporations.
  • We recognize that the decision to immigrate to the U.S. is often catalyzed by capitalism and imperialism in immigrants’ countries of origin. We push for a vision without borders, jails, and detention centers, as well as the abolishment of ICE as the ultimate enforcers of the anti-immigration agenda.

Reparations

  • We stand in solidarity with Black AVL Demands for repair for the past and continuing harms inflicted on them. We demand that the Asheville City Government replace the Vance and Robert E Lee monuments with monuments that honor the many Black Ashevillians who have built this city.
  • We demand that schools and streets named after former slave owners also be replaced with names of historic local black leaders.
  • We Demand the timely and effective implementation of Asheville’s Resolution Supporting Community Reparations while firmly rejecting performative (in)actions.
  • We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives in demanding reparations for past and continuing harms against Black people and communities. The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people — from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration, and surveillance — must repair the harm done.

Economic Justice

  • We stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives in demanding economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.

Dismantling Whiteness as a Predominantly White Organization

  • We commit to holding individuals and organizations accountable for addressing how our communities are recreating systems of oppression.
  • We commit to continuously developing skills to name and confront the many ways in which state violence and supremacy culture affects all Black folks, Indigenous communities, and people of color, as well as white peoples.
  • We commit to moving beyond a frame that highlights only killing, to one that honors and supports all aspects of an individual’s well being.
  • We commit to creating spaces to discuss the ways in which patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia impact Black communities, as well as Indigenous peoples, and all communities of color.
  • We commit to accountability through collective action, to cultivate relationship with and take direction from people of color who are doing racial justice work in the movement and are accountable to a community.
  • We commit to fostering safe spaces for members of marginalized communities, including the preclusion of those in law enforcement, recognizing the trauma inflicted by those enforcing supremacy culture historically and presently.
  • We commit to taking the risk of making mistakes in racial justice work, to learn from those mistakes, and continue the work. And to support those in our community when they have made mistakes so that the movement can remain in motion.
  • We commit to take on risk so that people of color have the opportunity to take on less risk.
  • We commit to organizing out of our mutual interest with communities of color, and rejecting the idea that racial justice is something we help people of color with.
  • We commit to push ourselves to work with anyone ready to take action, not just people and organizations who are in comfortable alignment with us, in order to build the movement.
  • We commit to supporting the leadership and organizing of poor and working-class people of color & white people who have been at the front lines of anti-racist struggle for generations; understanding that we need people of all class backgrounds in this work.
  • We reject the stereotype and the analysis that poor and working-class white people are responsible for racism, when it is the middle- and owning-class white people who disproportionately support policies and practices that uphold white supremacy, and the very rich who benefit most.
  • We commit to build DSA as a multiracial organization with an intersectional lens.

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