Black Lives Matter.

Graphic of 3 brown-skinned fists raised, beside text stating "South Asians for Black Lives".
Illus­tra­tion by @sapnasscribbles.

Wash­ing­ton, DC., May 25, 2020: 

On Mon­day, May 25, a white police offi­cer named Derek Chau­vin held his knee down on George Floy­d’s neck for 8 min­utes and 46 sec­onds. Three oth­er police offi­cers stood by, doing noth­ing to stop Floy­d’s murder.

Since that day, peo­ple have tak­en to the streets in protest in over 350 cities in the U.S. demand­ing to live in a world where the police stop killing Black peo­ple with impuni­ty. Instead of elect­ed offi­cials com­mit­ting to this, we have seen them deploy mil­i­ta­rized vio­lence on protestors.

We’ve been heart­ened by the sol­i­dar­i­ty that so many in our com­mu­ni­ties have already expressed, like Ruhel Islam, a Bangladeshi restau­rant own­er in Min­neapo­lis, who said “Let my build­ing burn…Justice needs to be served.”

As South Asians, we have a duty to address and fight anti-Black­­­­­ness on both sys­temic and inter­per­son­al lev­els. If we don’t, we are will­ing par­tic­i­pants in anti-Black racism. In addi­tion to our hub of resources for com­bat­ting anti-Black racism, below are some tools and guide­lines to con­tin­ue to learn about and move into action around solidarity:

1) Fol­low the guide­lines made by Black lead­ers that out­line Black com­mu­ni­ties’ needs.

The Move­ment for Black Lives has iden­ti­fied steps peo­ple can take to show up for Black com­mu­ni­ties. Giv­en the range of health and secu­ri­ty con­cerns right now, their web­site breaks down actions you can take by lev­el of risk (high, medi­um, and low). Check out the record­ing of their Black Nation­al Con­ven­tion for more infor­ma­tion on how you can con­tribute to the move­ment in November.

Across M4BL’s web­site, they advo­cate for the abo­li­tion of police. As Mari­ame Kaba puts it, Yes, We Mean Lit­er­al­ly Abol­ish The Police.

2)  Under­stand and address the roots of anti-Black­ness in South Asian communities.

Here are some places to start: 

(3) Host and par­tic­i­pate in dia­logues and actions that are not geo­graph­i­cal­ly bound.

Par­tic­i­pate in dia­logues with both South Asian and Black com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers to bet­ter under­stand the scope of the fight, with­in and beyond grass­roots, legal, and gov­ern­men­tal contexts. 

  • SAALT was a co-spon­­­sor of this con­ver­sa­tion from  June 12th, 2020, South Asians in Defense of Black Lives, with a num­ber of South Asian Amer­i­can orga­ni­za­tions, where activist Zoe Samudzi dis­cussed the role of pan-eth­nic and pan-racial sol­i­dar­i­ty in both Black & South Asian lib­er­a­tion efforts. 
  • Our allies at the Coun­cil on Amer­i­­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions have devel­oped Know Your Rights and Protest graph­ics that high­light the sig­nif­i­cance of nation­al South Asian Amer­i­can Black sol­i­dar­i­ty; schol­ars like Ellie Yang Camp have devel­oped guides to use Pan-Asian sol­i­dar­i­ty to defend Black lives.
  • As non-Black peo­ple of col­or, beware of per­for­ma­tive sol­i­dar­i­ty. Check out this arti­cle in Wear Your Voice Mag­a­zine about the harm that can cause and check out Deepa Iyer’s arti­cle that details what South Asian sol­i­dar­i­ty looks like.

(4) Redis­trib­ute resources to sup­port Black communities. 

Direct­ly sup­port Black Lives Mat­ter protests, bail funds, and med­ical protections.

Find cov­er­age of SAALT’s work against anti-Black racism and for carcer­al abolitionbelow: