New York Leadership Alliance

*** Position Statement ***

"Who you give your money to, is who you give your power to."
Frederick Douglass

Economic Sanctions Targets Racism In New York City

Black New Yorkers can no longer freely cooperate with a political economic system that allows the continued assault on the human rights of people of color.

Prior to the Diallo murder, national radio personality and chairman of the Respect yourself Youth Organization, Bob Law, along with Reverend Calvin O. Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church called for limited economic sanctions against racism, by asking Black New Yorkers not to spend money on the day after Thanksgiving, with any business that disrespected them. "At that time, we said that we would expand that strategy and return to it."

We support and have participated in the marches, rallies and demonstrations that have occurred in response to the insane killing of Amadou Diallo. We have participated in the marches following the murders of Randy Evans, Clifford Glover, Michael Stewart and the many others. All at the hands of the New York City police officers. And we have come to realize that the city's power brokers usually attempt to wait for the anger of the community to subside and then quietly return to business as usual. Only this time, we are determined that the anger will not subside. Instead it will be the catalyst for a sustained movement, pressing for justice and fundamental change on a number of levels, and we are mindful that racism is not a New York phenomena. It is, in fact, a national concern.

In recent years, racism in New York City has been on the increase. On some levels, it has been subtle. For instance, hospitals have denied Black patients the same quality health care as provided whites. Even when both patients are in the same hospital. Greater amounts of money are set aside for public education in white communities. Less money, less equipment, often outdated textbooks, as well as teachers with less certification, are placed in Black communities.

Many New York City banks continue to redline, denying qualified Blacks small business loans, or start up capital, and make home mortgages available only for certain areas. On other levels, the racism has been explosive. Off duty policemen shooting and beating African Americans over a parking space, or because the drunken cop resented his windhield being wiped, and no one is punished.

And just as outrageous are the numerous incidents of what appears to be murderous behavior by police officers who kill unarmed Blacks, from youngsters like Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California, Randy Evans, and Patrick Bailey, here in New York, to the more recent torture of Abner Luima and the murder of Amadou Diallo, as well as the killings of Deron Grimmitt and Johnny Gammage in Pittsburgh.

We are concerned that the climate in New York is set in motion and sustained by an attitude, as well as policy (more aggressive policing tactics) emanating from the Mayor's office. Mayor Guiliani has even suggested that these murders by the police are the price Black people must pay to have safer communtities. And this racism is all too often being tolerated by the poeple, as well as the institutions of New York City. The silence, which is allowing racism to become normalized in this city, amounts to an intolerable default of responsibility. And so, we call on the Black community first. And then all others who would stand for justice, to send a signal throughout the city, that, until justice prevails, there can be no more business as usual. Many New Yorkers have begun to respond. This alliance includes ministers, activists and organizations like the New York Association of Black Social Workers, as well as the Council of Churches of the City of New York.

The civil rights movement was launched in Montgomery, Alabama, with economic sanctions directed at that city's bus companies. On an even larger scale economic sanctions were used effectively to challenge apartheid in South Africa. It is in that same spirit that we launch this campaign of economic sanctions against New York City Racism!

The executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police has said that there is no problem as far as the members of the Black community is concerned; "We only have a problem with the leaders of their organizations." These sanctions will allow all members of the African American Community to show our solidarity in rejecting all forms of racism and justice.

For More Information, call (718) 443-3026.


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