WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last month, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution naming Aug. 11, Hip-Hop Day and November, Hip-Hop Month. The measure was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and co-sponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Alex Padilla (D-CA). Days later, the Senate passed a resolution supporting the hiring of 100,000 police in communities across the country.
The Senate has also failed to pass the pivotal For the People Act, which would make it easier for Black and marginalized communities to vote. The Black Southern Women’s Collective, which organizes in the South, released the following statement cautioning against performative gestures that fail to improve the material conditions of Black communities:
“Days after passing a resolution making Aug. 11, Hip-Hop Day and November, Hip-Hop Month, the Senate voted for Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) amendment to hire 100,000 more police. The Senate, including Senate Democrats, voted to unleash more cops to terrorize Black communities at the same time they’re purporting to celebrate our culture. This moment illuminates the danger of being pacified by performative actions,” said Ashley Shelton, executive director of the Power Coalition in Louisiana. “Black people have long had an appreciation for our culture. What is needed now are policies that expand opportunity, keep us safe from rogue cops, and protect the franchise of voting.”
“We just experienced one of the worst pandemics in history, and poor, marginalized and Black communities have yet to recover. At best, people have not been made whole. At worst, people will never recover. So it is ironic that amid evictions, food insecurity and job closures and loss, that the Senate would vote to hire more than 100,000 police. This move will lead to increased criminalization of vulnerable communities. We have governors declining unemployment but the Senate votes to hire more cops.”
The Black Southern Women’s Collective was created to support Black women’s leadership, share resources to support ongoing organizing, and allow Black women to take sacred pause to learn, grow, and rest. While the current iteration includes Black women advocates and leaders in the South, the goal is to expand to include Black women leaders from across the country.
The collaborative’s members are based in Alabama (Stephanie Strong, lead organizer of Faith in Action Alabama); Florida (Rev. Rhonda Thomas, executive director of Faith in Florida); Georgia (Nse Ufot, executive director of The New Georgia Project); Louisiana (Ashley Shelton, founder, president and CEO of The Power Coalition); Tennessee (Tameka Greer, executive director of the Memphis Artists for Change in Tennessee); and Texas (Akilah S. Wallace, executive director of Faith in Texas).