Black Lives Matter activists are holding their first Black National Convention on Friday, a virtual event that will adopt a political agenda calling for slavery reparations, universal basic income, environmental justice, and legislation that entirely re-imagines criminal justice reform. The gathering follows Democratic and Republican party conventions that laid out starkly different visions for America. And it comes on the same day as a commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, where the families of a growing list of police and vigilante violence victims will appear with civil rights leaders. The livestream broadcast will include policy proposals on such issues as voter suppression, reproductive rights, inequality in public education, housing insecurity, and inter-communal violence, according to its agenda, the AP reports.
"These are absolutely public policies that the Democratic Party, state and local officials, or anyone who is looking to serve Black people can take up now," said Jessica Byrd, who leads the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 150 groups organizing the event. In 2016, the coalition released its "Vision for Black Lives" policy platform, which included early proposals for defunding police. The new agenda revamps much of that original platform with specific proposals that could lead to an eventual abolition of the criminal justice system as it exists today. The nearly four-hour event, livestreaming on the website BlackNovember.org, will features speakers including Patrisse Cullors of the Black Lives Matter Global Network; Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement; Raquel Willis, a writer and transgender rights activist; and Eddie Glaude, of the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University.
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