Shaun King: A Victory For Black Lives Matter

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Good Morning Everybody!

On so many mornings, I report stories of injustice and racism, stories of police brutality and discrimination, but this is one of those mornings where I’m glad to be reporting some very good news and I want to tell you how we can duplicate that good news all over the country.

On Tuesday night, the good people of St. Louis County in Missouri, voted to oust their longtime district attorney, Bob McCulloch and not just oust him, but replace him with a young woke Black from Ferguson named Wesley Bell. It’s a huge deal that I think represents one of the most important victories of the entire Black Lives Matter movement.

Let me break it down for a minute.

Bob McCulloch has been the District Attorney of St. Louis County for 28 straight years. I was 10 years old when this man was elected. The first George Bush was President. The Internet or social media had not even been invented yet. For generations, this man has been in charge of the justice system in St. Louis County – and to devastating effect. He has single handedly made it one of the most incarcerated counties in America.

And while he was most known for refusing to press charges against the cop who shot and killed Mike Brown, he has protected hundreds of bad cops over the past 28 years – flat out refusing to hold even the most egregious, violent, corrupt cops accountable.

I’ve said it on here many times, but no single person in the country has the power to completely revolutionize the criminal justice system like your local district attorney. And for far too long, we’ve been asleep at the wheel while these people have devastated our communities. We’ve elected Presidents, we’ve elected mayors and city council people, we’ve helped elect amazing men and women to congress, but it’s time we use our political power to change the justice system from the inside out by electing radical new district attorneys.

As it stands right now, the nation has nearly 2,500 DA’s. They are 95% white, 86% men, and overwhelmingly conservative.

Now, what St. Louis just did can happen all over the country, but it’s not simple, and it’s not cheap.

As you may know, I lead an organization called Real Justice, and we helped to elect Wesley Bell. In the past year we’ve also helped to elect amazing DA’s in Philadelphia, in San Antonio, in the Bay Area in California, and in Virginia, but we’re just now scratching the surface of what we can do.

I wanna tell you two things I’ve learned in our victories. It starts locally. In the places where we won, my organization helped, but local organizations, local movement leaders, local church leaders, local activists really ran the show. They were all very, very organized before we ever showed up. And that’s key. In the places where that was the case we won. In the places where it wasn’t the case, we lost.

Secondly, it takes a very compelling candidate, one who is already known and trusted in the community, to beat a longstanding DA. You can’t just throw anybody out there. We’ve tried. It doesn’t work. You have to have somebody the community trusts. Wesley Bell was that person in St. Louis. Larry Krasner was that person in Philly.

And I want to close by telling you where we’re going next.

We’re going to Boston and I am backing a brilliant Black woman named Rachael Rollins. She’s one of the smartest, most capable people I know and is a true reformer determined to change Boston’s justice system from the inside out.

The longtime DA of Boston has decided to retire at the end of this year and this is a huge opportunity for the city to not only elect its first woman to the position, but also the first African American DA.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll see posts about Rachael all over my timeline – including ways for you to support her campaign. Even if you’re not from Boston, she needs your help. And we need to keep electing bold new district attorneys all over the country to show people just what’s possible.

Listen – when we organize, we win. We have the power and the resources to change our justice system from the inside out. For too long, our primary strategy has been to ask other people who don’t even love or respect us, to do right by us. And that’s not working – not at all.

We have to do what works. If you want some help organizing in your own city, we’ve developed a website where you can sign up to join or start a local Real Justice team. Go now to RealJustice.team – that’s RealJustice.team and sign up today.

I gotta run! Let’s keep on pushing.

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Shaun King: A Victory For Black Lives Matter was originally published on blackamericaweb.com

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