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We use direct actions to interrupt the status quo and bring awareness to key issues and different forms of state violence affecting the root causes of the plight of black and brown people around the world.,

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We stand against the many forms of state violence: police killings, mass incarceration, poverty and others.  We stand for justice for Tony Robinson and ALL Black lives lost at the hands of the state. We stand for community and self determination. We will not stop until we are free.

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YGB raising awareness and building community

What About My Torch: Reflecting the Movement
13 Oct 2017
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What About My Torch: Reflecting the Movement

The following is a piece written by Eric Upchurch.

 

We are defined by our struggle, which is why - in some cases - we subconsciously perpetrate it in our effort to hold on to our identity. We proudly carry the torch of our oppression, like the validation of an emotionally abusive partner. We are Torch Bearers - continuously marching on each other. How can we expect White folks to “get it right” when we violate our own damn selves?! Here, we are Reflecting the Movement.

 

I’m talking about how the “burns” we’ve survived have become flames we religiously wield in a subconscious ritual to protect ourselves.

 

Dr. King said that the White Liberal that thinks they understand is the most dangerous enemy to the movement; but in that same spirit of thinking, what about People of Color and allies who think they can’t be a part of the problem? Where do they fit? Oh, because they definitely have a place in this.

 

It’s practical knowledge that there are sexists fighting for racial justice, racists fighting for healthy climate and polluters dedicated to ending sexism. There are abusive people “fighting” abuse, and racists “fighting” racism - sexists “fighting” sexism.

 

Search your feelings. You know it to be true. You’ve seen it happen in your work, but no one is in a hurry to raise their own hand in noble guilt. No one is willing to say, “I am a part of the problem in this way.” And this begs the question: Is it You Too?

THEY BEARED TORCHES

Once during some political education on sexism, I asked some gender non-conforming friends why I couldn’t be considered a Trans-Man. Their response was that I was a straight male and I didn’t fit the definition of a Trans-Man - which is defined as being born (assigned) female and transitioning to male; and I couldn’t help but think of how often they must have heard that same reaction, “You don’t fit the definition of a man (or woman). You don’t belong there.” Inflaming words?

 

They went on to tell me how they and their loved ones had been persecuted - burned -  for their identities and that it wasn’t something that could just be adopted. They cursed me for my comparison. They beared torches.

 

Is the goal for everyone to be accepted for the identity they choose? Or for us to add different genders to the list of things people cannot be? The torch of exclusion and rejection must be put down in every way possible to make room for the light of acceptance and inclusion. We can’t exclude our way into an inclusive world.

….we cannot oppress our way out of oppression.

I had a boss once. She was so oppressive and racist with her wielding of title power, that at times, it was a running joke between coworkers just how terrible she was. What’s more is that one of the organization’s goals was to make sure that this kind of shit didn’t happen; and here was the fearless “leader” proudly lighting the way with a flaming torch.

 

I later found out that she had a troubling home life, with kids that didn’t listen to or respect her, and a lack of acknowledgement and intimacy with her partner. Her lack of power at home was balanced by her abuse of power at work - waving her torch in a panic as if to shake it out. She was burned and so...burned.

 

She was unable to hear the cries of her employees as her cries had also gone unheard. She’d taken up the torch in her effort to light her way out of her own oppression; and she wasn’t putting it down for anybody. Still, we cannot oppress our way out of oppression.

She became her torch.

I was working with a person of color who I came to call friend. We were the only two people of color on an equity project covered in white people who controlled all of the funding. Despite my support of this person - always having their back, they never hesitated to criticize, or ridicule or throw me under the bus. Sometimes, it felt like they had a problem with me personally.

 

When I shared my feelings with her, I found out that she’d been burned by so many fellow coloureds in the past who treated her with the same criticism. In order to survive, she reconciled a changed even to her very values to the point where she no longer believes that people of color should look out for each other in white spaces. She beared a heavy torch. She became her torch.

 

Had she lived in a world where people of color looked out for each other, she would not have been hurt this way. But because she carries her torch with her - because she is defined by it and the hurt it caused her, she causes others the same.

 

I have to wonder what I’m holding because of it.

 

There’s no doubt about it. We’ve done good work as a community. All of those community, cause driven, protesting, program building, beloved game changing comrades in the struggle toward better, we’ve done good work. But we’ve also failed.

 

In our very serious and impactful work to make this world a better place, we are duplicating dynamics that give rise to many of the very isms we claim to be fighting. We are fighting ourselves with a subconscious ritual that we hope leads to success, but instead supports the continuation of our struggle in gross and subtle ways.

 

So how does it end?

An intellectual understanding of your habit doesn’t mean you’ve changed it. Practice, Practice, Practice, Dammit!

I’m not here to say that there’s only one way to put down the torch, nor am I saying that I bear no torches. What I can say from my own experience is that you can’t intentionally stop yourself from doing harm if you’re not willing to consider the possibility that you might be doing harm.

 

There has to first be an openness to the possibility that there might be a torch nearby...in the hand area.

 

Secondly, is a deep dive with a healthy environment to unpack the torch. What’s there and where does it come from? How does it show itself? Who does it impact? Listen, Linda.

 

Third, there must be a commitment to a reflective practice over time that helps us reverse the habit of picking up that torch. We think that because we notice a habit of ours, that it just goes away or doesn’t show itself in other ways. But an intellectual understanding of your habit doesn’t mean you’ve changed it. Practice, Practice, Practice, Dammit!

 

What works for me is meditation, focusing on a sensory perception, like the breath, and allowing all other thoughts and sensations to come and go as freely as the breath. This helps me practice not reacting to thoughts and influences - not being controlled by my reactions. This gives me sharper eyes to see myself and little by little, put down my own torches.

 

I wish the same for all of us on this journey toward real and lasting change.

 

This is one installment of a series of Reflections of our movements that I hope will be helpful to those that find value.

Love and Peace,

Eric U. II

Tell the Madison School Board #NoCopsInSchools!
27 Sep 2017
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Tell the Madison School Board #NoCopsInSchools!

Dear YGB Community,

 

With a 16:1 arrest disparity, we know that cops in schools are just another way for the criminal justice system to put Black bodies into jails. This monumental waste of our tax dollars instills fear in our kids, disproportionately arrests and suspends children of color, and enforces the school-to-prison pipeline.

 

Tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 5pm, we will join Freedom Inc. to demand #NoCopsInSchools! At that time, the Madison School Board’s Education Resource Officer (ERO) Ad Hoc Committee will hold a meeting, and we need to make it heard loud and clear that we need our schools to be demilitarized!

 

The meeting will be held at the Doyle Administration Building (545 W Dayton St), and it is vital that we show up and show out to demand Community Control Over the Police and #NoCopsInSchools!

Event Wednesday: Stand Together to Fight for Immigrant Rights!
22 Sep 2017
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Event Wednesday: Stand Together to Fight for Immigrant Rights!

Dear YGB Community,

 

In the face of the xenophobic, anti-immigrant policies of our president, we must continue to fight for immigrant rights.

 

Please call your legislators and tell them to attend the upcoming hearing and to protect immigrant rights.

 

It’s vital that we raise voice to protect the 800,000 children that have been targeted and marginalized by Trump’s rescinding of DACA. To do this, it is vital that we pressure the Wisconsin legislature to abandon Assembly Bill 160, which attempts to ban sanctuary cities in Wisconsin, allowing the police to violate the rights of immigrants even further.

 

On Wednesday, September 27, at 10:30 a.m. at the Wisconsin State Capitol, we will meet to hold a public hearing on immigration reforms and fight back. The hearing, which will be held in Room 411 South, will feature dairy farm workers, DACA recipients, and many others. In the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to speak about why immigrant rights are important to you.


In addition to showing up and showing out next Wednesday, please
call your legislators and tell them to attend the hearing, to listen to the stories of these speakers, and to protect immigrant rights.

 

If you would like to volunteer for the event, please email Rabbi Bonnie Margulis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New Wisconsin Bills Threaten to Punish Peaceful Protesters
22 Sep 2017
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New Wisconsin Bills Threaten to Punish Peaceful Protesters

Dear YGB Community,

 

We must fight back. Please call your legislators and tell them to uphold free speech.

 

There are three bills currently being debated in the Wisconsin Legislature - AB 395, 396, and 397 - that are attempting to restrict the right to assemble for peaceful protesters in Wisconsin, regardless of whether or not they are acting violently. These proposed laws, which are in direct violation of freedom of speech and the First Amendment, and yet another vicious attempt by the status quo to silence the voices of dissidents.

 

Of course, speeches at rallies and protests can be strong, intense, and invigorating. But the right to communicate this way is integral to our democracy and vital to the life-or-death needs of those who are protesting. Accordingly, the ACLU of Wisconsin has come out strongly against these bills.

 

We must fight back. Please call your legislators and tell them to uphold free speech.

Help Free One of the 350!
14 Sep 2017
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Help Free One of the 350!

Dear YGB Community,

 

We know all too well how the arrest disparity perpetrated by Madison Police creates more harm than good in our community. What's more, they are arresting folks for crimes of poverty.

 

Just recently, a homeless Black man in Madison was arrested due to crimes of poverty, and it is vital that we understand that a stronger social safety net, better public housing resources, and policies in place to end racial disparities, could have stopped this from happening.

 

This man should not be punished - the system that put him into that situation should be punished. But instead, this man is now locked in a cage with a $2,000 bail that he cannot afford, and ZERO resources to help change his situation.

 

The Free the 350 Bail Fund is trying to raise funds to potentially free this man from behind bars by paying his $2,000 bail. Please click on this link to donate now.

 

Join the Defend DACA Phone Bank!
14 Sep 2017
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Join the Defend DACA Phone Bank!

Dear YGB Community,

 

Last week, President Trump ended the DACA program, effectively making 800,000 additional children eligible for deportation from the United States. This xenophobic and immoral act is a disgusting attempt to violate the rights of the hundreds of thousands of innocent, hard working immigrants that make up the fabric of our country and are as American as any of us are.

 

Please click here to protect the children affected by the repeal of DACA.

 

Hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of being put into a dangerous, life threatening situation. We need to do everything in our power to protect them.

 

By joining the Defend DACA Phone Bank, held from September 15-20 at the Madison Labor Temple, you can directly encourage fellow Madisonians to protect these children by contacting their representatives and advocating for immigrant rights. By signing up for a shift, you can persuade hundreds of people to take vital, desperately needed action!

 

To sign up for a time to work at the phone bank, please click here.

 

If you want to support the cause from home, please contact your representatives by clicking here and telling them to support the DREAM Act 2017.

 

Support the Victims of Hurricane Harvey!

 

 

Click here to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

 

The level of catastrophe in Houston is drastic. According to the New York Times, Texas has already experienced 47 deaths due to Hurricane Harvey, many of whom are poor and homeless people of color who couldn’t afford the resources to protect themselves.

 

People are in dire need of basic resources like food and shelter, and with an estimated $45 to $65 billion in damages, we must do everything in our power to help them out.

 

Click here to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

 

To help those affected, YGB is leading a fundraising campaign to help grassroots organizations who are on the ground doing direct work for those affected by the hurricane. Funds will be distributed to Keshia Thomas, Fundi Fe, and Sean Scott, activists who are working with people and organizations on the ground in Houston.

 

This money will not be going to the Red Cross, which is known to mismanage funds and whose CEO makes $561,000 a year. All funds that are donated to the Red Cross are entered in a pool, there is no guarantee every dollar will go to Harvey victims. Instead, we will make sure that our efforts to help the people are led by the people themselves.

 

We decided that someone should focus on getting support into the hands of the real people impacted on the ground. So we're launching a small fundraiser to support local organizers connected to the real people and doing real work out there.

 

Please donate by clicking on the link below.

 

Click here to support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

 

Please Support the Free the 350 Bail Fund!
31 Aug 2017
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Please Support the Free the 350 Bail Fund!

Dear YGB Community,

 

We know that the Dane County Jail’s bail system is designed to penalize poor people and people of color. While people of privilege can afford to pay their bail and walk free, the poorest - most often people of color - are locked behind bars. And when they do manage to get out, they are often welcomed back into the same lack of resources that contributed to their need to survive.This is yet another way that our incarceration system criminalizes race and class.

 

http://bit.ly/FreeThe350BailFund

 

But now, we have a radical way to fight back. The Free the 350 Bail Fund, which was just established during YGB Actions in 2016, has been recently revived. It’s an online fundraiser that will raise money to directly bail out and support poor people of color from the Dane County Jail. We can free ourselves!

 

http://bit.ly/FreeThe350BailFund

 

Every dollar raised will be put towards releasing Black folks from the chains of mass incarceration - directly addressing the jail’s racial disparity.

 

Just this month, the current Free the 350 Bail Fund has already freed Mr. Robert Love from the Dane County Jail. With your generous support, we could bring so many more back to home, work or school. We could set so many more free.

 

Please donate by going to http://bit.ly/FreeThe350BailFund.

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YGB TO PETITION THE UNITED NATIONS

YGB needs your voice in order to get an investigation by the United Nations as we elevate the conversation of of racial disparities in Madison and fight for justice for Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teen murdered at the hands of officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department  

SIGN THE PETITION HERE SIGN THE PETITION HERE 

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR GOFUNDME

YGB functions without traditional funding. We are not tied to the stipulations that come with large donors. Instead, we are supported by the direct will of The People. This gives us the freedom to raise our voice and mobilize our community toward an end to State Violence. Please help support this freedom by sharing or conotributing to our GoFundMe page.

SHARE OR SUPPORT OUR GOFUNDME PAGE HERE

FIRE MATT KENNY

YGB demands that Matt Kenny, the murderer of Tony Robinson, be fired. Far to often are killer cops left unpunished, and we want Kenny off the streets.

SIGN THE PETITION TO FIRE MATT KENNY HERE

ABOUT US

The Young Gifted and Black Coalition is a circle of young leaders determined to end state violence and raise the voice of communities of color. We are young Black Women, Queer Folks, Straight Folks and Feminist Men who are fighting for Black Liberation. Our focus is on the low income black communities that our core members call home. 

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