Thursday, June 4, 2020

Justice and Equity for Black People in the United States

As cities have burned across the United States of America over the past few days, it has highlighted the deep-rooted issues in the United States of America. This message does not speak on behalf of Black People in the United States of America, but is crafted from the perspective of a Black Person in the United States of America.

If you do not actively and consistently assist, advocate, or support Black People and Black Communities in your regular activities then you are part of the problem.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmad Aurbery are just four of the countless Black lives that were lost due to police brutality and, more importantly, not given the justice they deserved. These are not isolated incidents, and they stem from a much longer and broader history of the erasure of Black humanity in this country.

You may ask, "Where do I even start?" Well, the first step is education. African American descendants of slaves have generated over a Trillion dollars (conservative estimates) in wealth to the American Colonies and the United States since the first documented slaves were brought to the continent around 1619 (article link). Restitution, reperations (not just monetary), and reconcilliation were never fully achieved even after the so-called abolishment of slavery with the 13th Amendment (video link) after the U.S. Civil War. The Reconstruction Era (video link) was supposed to accomplish this, but white America broke the promise to Black America.

Hence, the frustration seen in the streets of these cities is not new, has continually been brewing for decades, and is a result of perpetual discrimination in many aspects of American society, including but not limited to:

A. Financial Industry and Wealth (video link and study link) - Including housing (video link), banking (video link and article link), and a cumulative "Black Tax" (video link and book link) which is a starting estimate to any monetary reparation.

B. Education System - College entrance exams (video link). Some University statistics (web link).

C. Political System - "Redlining" (article link), policing (video link #1 and video link #2), and government systems (video link). Including after "Reconstruction" (video link).

D. Health Care System - Including experiments on black people (video introduction) and inequities highlighted by COVID-19 (article link).

These information links are all introductory and by no means equivalent to the exhaustive studies, articles, and investigations that have been conducted. The intent is to spark your interest in learning more and then taking action. All of these areas need to be repaired for true reconciliation to occur. Thus, there have been, are, and will be numerous opportunities for you to develop, fund, and volunteer your time for programs, initiatives, and events that benefit Black People and the Black Community. The choice is up to you to pick which ways you want to contribute, but pick some and work to Make America Great (M.A.G.) for the FIRST time!

For those who are able to put their money to action, here is a non-exhaustive list of donation opportunities:

 This statement is co-signed by members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Committee for the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA), in alphabetical order:

  • Camille Avestruz 
  • Alyson Brooks 
  • Nicole Cabrera Salazar 
  • Lía Corrales 
  • Kate Daniel 
  • Louise Edwards 
  • Samaiyah Farid 
  • Erin Flowers 
  • Keith Hawkins 
  • Audra Hernández 
  • Moiya McTier 
  • Christopher S. Moore 
  • Carlos Vargas 

 The views and opinions expressed in this statement and links to related materials are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the American Astronomical Society.

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