Urgent Statement: Violence and The Attack on Education

We want to express our deep sorrow and outrage over the recent shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida. This horrifying incident, driven by hate and racism, is a stark reminder of the urgent need to address systemic racism and its pervasive impact on our communities.

For over 400 years, Black people have lived in fear of racial violence in this country. On Saturday, August 26, 2023, a white gunman opened fire at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida. He killed Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29, before turning the gun on himself. The 21-year-old gunman, Ryan Palmeter, left behind manifestos detailing his racist ideologies. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the Jacksonville community. Crimes motivated by hate are not just attacks on innocent people but against communities and our pluralistic society.

Anti-Black Violence and the Erasure of History


Studies correlate political speech and racially motivated violence. Right-wing rhetoric inflames hate groups, leading to tragedies like the Dollar General shooting on Saturday. Lone gunmen are not alone. They are backed up by bad actors in politics, the media, and the state that target vulnerable communities. Hecklers booed Gov Ron DeSantis at Monday's vigil, highlighting his role in eliminating Black History programs and anti-racism in Florida schools. His efforts create an environment where bias, bigotry, and hate. The impact of politicians like Ron DeSantis on education is deeply concerning. His attempts to shut down the teaching of Black History in public schools stifle diversity initiatives. By eliminating the chance for our youth to learn about the Black Freedom struggle and Black achievements and contributions, DeSantis has eliminated one of the most effective tools in countering anti-Black racist violence.

By omitting discussions on diversity, history, and the experiences of marginalized communities, these policies not only perpetuate ignorance but also pave the way for discriminatory attitudes to take root and thrive. When young minds are denied the opportunity to learn about different cultures and histories, they are more susceptible to viewing certain groups as 'other' or 'lesser,' perpetuating a cycle of division, discrimination, and violence.

Take Action

The forces of hate and oppression will not silence us. Below are three steps you can take.

ADVOCATE:

Demand that local and federal law enforcement agencies diligently report and address hate crimes is a vital step toward combating the influence of stochastic terrorism and encourages accountability. Support policies that mandate accurate hate crime data collection and reporting to ensure the understanding of the true scope of these violent acts and enable targeted intervention and prevention efforts. Urge for transparent and thorough reporting practices.

SUPPORT:

Support #TeachTruth campaigns. By donating time, resources, or funds to these efforts, individuals can actively contribute to ensuring that our youth have the freedom to learn the truth. Education works to dismantle the divisive narratives that fuel symbolic violence, fostering an environment where inclusivity and equity thrive.

JOIN:

Joining grassroots movements and coalitions that dismantle systemic racism and address the root causes of violence is a heavy but transformative action. These movements demand systemic changes in policies, institutions, and social attitudes. Attend rallies, participate in advocacy campaigns, and work alongside activists to be part of a collective effort to challenge harmful rhetoric and ideologies that fuel violence.

As we grapple with the aftermath of this tragedy, we must come together as a community to support one another and reaffirm our commitment to racial justice. Through collective action, education, and advocacy, we can challenge and overcome the deeply ingrained racism that continues to infect our society.

 

RESOURCES


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/08/29/jacksonville-shooting-fear-among-black-americans/70703933007/
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/deadly-jacksonville-shooting-is-latest-racist-attack-amid-rise-in-hate-crimes

https://www.nea.org/sites/default/files/2022-06/Know%20Your%20Rights%20-%20Florida.pdfhttps://www.npr.org/2023/08/28/1196305761/desantis-jacksonville-vigil-booed

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