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Why Do Police Even Exist? And Other Important Questions Pondered During Convention For ‘Progressive Voices’

A convention dedicated to “progressive voices” featured a panel Thursday of black activists and organizers who talked about “black pain” and racism in America.

Netroots Nation hosts yearly conferences for progressives that provides online and on-site training on how to influence the public debate on race and has previously featured speakers like Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama. This year’s convention takes place from July 14-17 in St. Louis, Missouri and features various talks, lectures, panels and live streams.

The opening keynote for the convention, “This Week With Blackness,” discussed the “systematic oppression of African Americans in the United States.”

Here are some of the most outrageous statements from both panelists and hosts alike:

Pastor says that Americans should question the existence of police

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou declared that activists should not question how to change police behavior, but should ask instead why police even exist.

“Ask: ‘Why do they exist?’ What is their role in the context of black community given that their primary role has been about protecting elite and protecting global capital in the context of resources and its obsession with looting and riots?” Sekou asked.

The reality of “black pain in America”

Convention host Sonya Renee Taylor, an activist and founder of the website The Body Is Not An Apology,  discussed “black pain.”

“That is absolutely the reality of black pain in America. Whether you are actively watching the video of another black person being murdered or you are cooking your dinner, the trauma that is blackness in American society is always on buzz,” Taylor stated.

All-white “social justice organizations” must re-examine themselves

“What does my organization look like? If you are supposed to be a social justice organization and you are predominately white, that’s a problem,” Jamala Rogers, an author and member of Organization for Black Struggle, claimed.

Taylor agreed, chiming in with, “You are not a social justice organization if your organization is all white.”

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