As the Democratic Party faces an implosion over its progressive agenda (or lack thereof), human rights organizations representing vulnerable communities are finding ways to collaborate and “go beyond moments of outrage … and beyond barriers between communities that have much at stake and so much in common.”
“The Majority” launched late March with the support of 50 advocates and organizations, Aaron Morrison of Mic reported on March 23. The coalition is fighting “for a future where all our children can navigate their lives without fear and harm; a future where all our folks can flourish and thrive, not just survive,” its organizers said in a press statement.
The Majority’s first campaign, “Beyond the Moment: Uniting Movements from April 4th to May Day,” includes participants representing the Black Lives Matter Global Network, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Dream Defenders, Mijente, SolidarityIS, Color of Change, Climate Justice Alliance, Fight for $15, and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
“It’s an incredible coming together in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-sector space to push back against recent attacks,” Malcolm Torrejón Chu, an organizer with the national anti-gentrification Right to the City alliance, told Rewire. “It’s about deepening our bonds of solidarity, deepening how communities work together against corruption and corporate rule so we can all lead secure, dignified lives.”
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The alliance has joined the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance, and Indigenous Environmental Network to form It Takes Roots, a collaborative participating in Beyond the Moment.
April 4 marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech in New York City, where he discussed the threat of the “giant triplets”—racism, extreme materialism/capitalism, and militarism. He was assassinated exactly a year later while organizing alongside Black sanitation workers in Memphis. May Day, the International Worker’s Day held on May 1, emerged out of the fight for an eight-hour workday in 1886 Chicago that led to striking workers being killed and, later, protesters hanged.
“In the context of a new President using grandiose promises of job creation to mask the fundamentally anti-worker and pro-corporation nature of his policies, it is imperative that we put forth a true, collective vision of economic justice and worker justice, for all people,” the organizers of Beyond the Moment said in a statement.
“This May Day, we are uniquely positioned to recast the predominant left narratives around economic justice toward a more radically inclusive frame that elevates the voices of Black and Brown workers, and to bring together a broad sector of the left to provide meaningful interventions around anti-Blackness, intersectionality and racial justice.”
On May Day, mass mobilizations will take place, “grounded in an intersectional analysis that centers anti-Black racism, capitalism and militarism to expose how intertwined issues of social inequality really are across communities,” a statement on the website reads.
Mark-Anthony Johnson from Dignity and Power Now and the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)—which as Morrison reported at Mic inspired the The Majority coalition—told Rewire that the organizations making up M4BL “are coordinating efforts to challenge and beat back policies of an administration whose aim is undermine the dignity and wellbeing of Black people.” For these groups, he added, “it is necessary to build a multi-racial … effort to defend our communities from the aggressive moves this administration is making.”
Those moves include reducing digital privacy regulations and ramping up law enforcement protections and efforts to “reduce crime and restore public safety,” which advocates say is about “criminalizing Black and Brown communities and funneling millions to his corporate allies,” as Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson put it in a February statement.
On April 4, the Majority called for mass political education; an expansion of the #SanctuaryForAll movement “to include dialogue around anti-Blackness, non-immigrants, non-refugees, and Indigenous rights”; and supporting “the ongoing struggle for LGBTQIA rights and economic justice for workers, the unemployed and the cash-poor.”
“We hear a lot about the need for sanctuary. What we want to see is a vision of expanded sanctuary for immigrants, Muslims, refugees, Black folks against police violence, Indigenous people’s against oil pipelines; expanded sanctuary at every level of our community for all,” Torrejón Chu said.
Another participant, the Health, Environment, Agriculture and Labor (HEAL) Food Alliance is proud to be part of The Majority to continue creating positive change across communities with other allies, director Navina Khanna told Rewire.
“At HEAL, we hold workers, particularly the many Black and Brown migrant and immigrant workers across the food system who sustain our lands and lives, as leaders in our work for justice and transformation. As the current administration’s xenophobic policies and rhetoric attempt to divide us, we are committed to strengthening our collective ability to care for and uplift one another,” she said in an email.
The Majority hopes for trans-local actions to continue in the weeks to come. The coalition “will be taking action across the country to not only challenge local government to expand their definition of sanctuary, but to divest from community institutions, such as policing, that undermine the dignity of Black people. Black and Brown communities share a collective future to which we believe these funds should [be] invested, including in community-based alternatives to incarceration, mental health treatment, and education,” Johnson said.
Although white conservative power seeks to disenfranchise them at the polls, people of color are a rising majority in this country, the Majority organizers said in the statement.
“We know that when there there is linked oppression, there will be linked defiance, defense and expansion of what it means to protect all our communities. And in many ways, our vision for the future is linked, too: a radical future where we can determine our destinies, a world that we’ve been dreaming of where all Black lives matter,” the Beyond the Moment website reads.
CORRECTION: Quotes from Malcolm Torrejón Chu have been updated for clarity.