Ways to work for racial justice in Bellingham
Local groups are working on many issues spotlighted by recent outrage over the killings of unarmed black people by police.
Check the Racial Justice Coalition’s Facebook page for active discussions of ways people are organizing and educating locally: https://www.facebook.com/groups/805865166153530/
Black Lives Matter signs
Earlier this year, RJC led an action asking local businesses to put up Black Lives Matter signs (see the list at: http://racialjusticecoalition.org/2016/01/blacklivesmatter-signs-posted-by-local-businesses). Many of those signs have since come down; now is a good moment to ask businesses you support to up a sign. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a list of frequently asked questions that come up during these conversations.
Along with partners in the community working to undo systemic racism, RJC has a petition to the mayor to cease the predictive policing program in Bellingham, which targets low-income and communities of color with increased patrols: http://racialjusticecoalition.org/2015/10/petition-to-stop-predictive-policing-in-bellingham/
Community to Community Development and the Whatcom Civil Rights Project have been documenting the experiences of people of color who are stopped by law enforcement at high rates. These stops often involve intimidation and harassment but are not recorded. Others are taken into custody and held at the Whatcom County Jail or transferred to the Tacoma Detention Center.
Accompanying people who file complaints with the police, advocating for transparency through better data collection, and supporting these organizations in related work are some of the ways community members can help our work to end racial profiling locally.
Our website has recommended readings on racial justice that will help community members build an analysis of systemic racism and get ideas on how to be supportive of people of color organizing for justice.
There are also episodes of the Racial Justice Coalition Radio Show that you can listen to.
It’s important to talk about racism with your community. White people should talk to white people and be willing to break the silence. The internet is full of resources to help you in these conversations (here’s one: http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/08/white-america-responsibility/).
There are also many resources for non-white communities; for example: https://mic.com/articles/148224/asian-americans-wrote-this-powerful-letter-to-say-why-black-lives-matter-to-their-families#.jbH6Frx2w
Come to RJC’s monthly meetings, the first Tuesday of every month at 7 pm at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, to plug into groups working on food access in the Birchwood neighborhood, countering the Anti-Indian movement, reducing reliance on incarceration, renaming the Pickett Bridge, and organizing white people for racial justice.
If you are interested in ongoing research and organizing, the Whatcom Civil Rights Project is working on accountability and transparency from local law enforcement.