As Juneteenth approaches, so does another wave of action that pushes us to defund the police and military and to embrace webs of social support that Black communities have been demanding for decades now. As a Black, queer woman from a poor and working class background, I’m astounded that it took this long for us to get here. 

Although my community has continuously been impacted by the violence of the police, it has taken years and years of pain and anguish before we could reach this moment. Juneteenth for me, the date where enslaved Black people in the South found out they were free, more than 2 years after they were freed, reminds me of the social trajectory we are in. 

Social progress, whether we are talking about divesting from the police and military or divesting from fossil fuels, takes so long to trickle down to Black communities. Incrementalism is no longer sufficient. Meanwhile we are dying today from police violence, air pollution, climate disasters and now COVID. As James Baldwin said in this video, “How long do you want for your progress?”

This moment is about a call to action now. The clock has run down on white supremacy and state sanctioned violence. This old vision of the world built on repression, extraction and pollution is on borrowed time and the new vision which includes investment in the health and social fabric of our country, is here. This means completely rethinking our society, one that for too long has been embedded with structural racism, and no “reforms” are going to fix that. We must dismantle it to move forward.

Check out this video that I’m featured in about what we could be investing in instead of police and military — like healthcare, education, and green jobs training for Black Communities:

If you find yourself having questions, now is the time to steep yourself in political education, get involved, and donate your time and money. We cannot wait anymore. Juneteenth shows me that the rest of the world will catch up to Black people this time.
We have a clear directive at this moment: Defund the police and invest in community solutions. That’s why 350 is marching with the Movement for Black Lives this weekend, June 19-21, in honor of Juneteenth.

Together we will demand defunding the police to reduce the scope, size, and role of an ineffective and racist system in favor of investments in education, healthcare, trauma, and healing work, and a Green New Deal that centers racial justice.

Will you join in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives for this mass weekend of action and find a Juneteenth event near you?

For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram