Letter Writing Campaign to End Violence Against Black People

The Letter Writing Campaign to End Violence against Black People began as a response to lynching, incarceration and other forms of violence against Black people. It is a collaboration between the Transformative Action Network and Freedom Inc. Black people in Madison and beyond face a wide spectrum of violence in schools and in the wider community Precious life is lost everyday. Most recently we are reeling from the murder of George Floyd. In December of 2019 a 14 year-old was arrested at gun point at his middle school here in Dane County, it could have been him. It is up to us to make this violence unacceptable. Seventy-eight percent of the children incarcerated in Wisconsin are youth of color. Why is it acceptable for any children to be locked behind bars? We need to decriminalize Black people. We need to connect with each other's humanity. Break the silence about this violence and the role white privilege plays in keeping it going. You can break the silence with action: Write a letter. Our goal is to write and send 2000 letters to aldermen, state representatives, county supervisors, school staff and administrators, other elected officials, editors, police, community organizations and others. 

As of August 6, 2020  Letters sent Total = 1021

419 Dane County Board 12 +(11 letters x 37)
13 Dane County Criminal Justice Coord Council
3 Dane County Officials 
5 Editors
370 Madison Alders 10 + (18 letters x 20)
8 Madison Black Leaders Orgs.
7 Madison Legislative Delegation
18 Madison Mayor
10 Madison Mayoral Staff
8 Madison Park Commissioners 
2 Madison Police Chief 
5 Madison Police Fire Commission 
101 Madison School Board MMSD 
11 Indiv. Board member
10 x 9 Board Members in 1 letter
29 Madison Neighborhood 
16 SASYNA Board
13 Newspapers
6 Monona Mayor
4 Middleton, Cross Plains Board of Education 
1 Religious Leaders
2 WI Governor Evers
6 WI Representatives
2 WI Senators
2 WI UW: 
1 Chancellor
1 Police Chief  
 Total 1021

 

Letter Campaign Writer Sends Powerful Letter to County Supervisors

  • Posted on: 16 October 2020
  • By: Elizabeth Arco

We are highlighting powerful letters written through the Letter Campaign to End Violence Against Black People. Please join us in writing letters for the campaign. Information and writing session are held on Thursdays from 7:00 - 8:30pm on Zoom. You can RSVP here for the Zoom invitation

Our goal is to send 2,000 letters to elected officials, government agencies, schools, nonprofits, local businesses, community organizations, and more, by November 3rd, 2020. So far, we have nearly 1,500 letters.

July 24, 2020

To: county_board_recipients@countyofdane.com

Subject: End Violence Against Black People

Dear Dane County Supervisors:  

My husband and I will be welcoming our first child this fall. And while the usual anxieties and worries are ever-present, I cannot help but reflect upon what we, as white parents, don’t have to worry about. I think about Black parents who have had to see their children’s lives taken at the hands of police. I think of Black fathers who don’t get to see their children due to policies and practices that disproportionately incarcerate Black men. I think of Black children who are taught to be hyper-vigilant about everything from where they put their hands when confronted by law enforcement to what they wear and how to speak—not as a lesson in manners but as a matter of survival. And I think of Black mothers who have to fear for their lives and the lives of their babies, with statistically higher rates of maternal and infant mortality.

And while we as a nation and a world bear witness to explicit acts of violence and murder perpetrated against Black bodies, I also think of the deadly weathering effect of living a life of constant, chronic stress and subsequent disease. How could it be otherwise when racism is built into the fabric of our institutions? Let us not forget that this, too, is violence.

As a white woman, I believe the time to stand with the Black community is long overdue. I have not always believed this, having been complicit in violence against Black bodies. In many ways, I know I am still complicit, as I have many, many blind spots; such is the insidiousness of a white supremacist culture, as I am learning and feeling in my body and spirit. But now, standing in solidarity and supporting the demands of the Black community, is something I can do. 

May we someday live in a society where the voices of Black people are heard and believed. Until then, I will try to use my action when I can to elevate these demands of the Black community: 

  1. Remove all harmful punitive policies, practices, and people from school environments, including police, suspension, and expulsion. Do not support politicking or policy decisions that put property over black lives.
  2. We want public institutions to engage in 360 degree accountability through abolitionist restorative justice.
  3. Support and fund a Black-led committee with decision making and implementation power to remedy the deep patterns of harm caused by racist violence in all of its forms.
  4. Using recommendations of said committee, invest in a campaign to decriminalize and humanize Black people.
  5. Provide reparations to said committee to create educational initiatives for the Black community.
  6. Provide reparations for Black land trusts and other remedies for gentrification and hyper-segregation.
  7. Create a truth and reconciliation process to replace the punitive criminal justice system with abolitionist restorative justice.
  8. Adopt the demands developed by the Movement for Black Lives. 

In solidarity with the Black community,

M.B.

Ways to Connect and Participate

  • Posted on: 29 June 2020
  • By: TimeBank Restorative Justice

WAYS TO PARTICIPATE

Attend a letter writing session:

During the session you will learn more about the issue and our demands, get support getting your ideas out, hear sample letters and meet other people doing this important work to end violence. We have a set of 4 demands we want every letter to include and are keeping a tally of the letters sent so we are asking people to attend a zoom gathering to get the details. If that's not possible, you can also write to Damita Brown at the Dane county Timebank to get important details and she can send you a Co-conspirator tool kit for wrting a letter.

Host a Zoom letter writing session:

You can get our Co-conspirator toolkit that shows you step by step how to host your own letter writing party. We want folks to invite friends, neighbors, colleagues, family co-workers and others to join them in writing a letter to help end this violence. The tool kit has sample letters, ideas about where to send the letters, and graphics containing more information you can show people in your zoom party.

Letter Writing Sessions will be held every other Thursday from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

PLEASE USE THIS LINK TO REGISTER FOR THE ZOOM SESSION

Please contact our restorative justice director,  Damita Brown if you have any questions: damita@danecountytimebank.org