This group ascribes to the BLM Global Network Guiding Principles, as well as two additional principles we find especially crucial to the work as we carry it out here in the Greater Burlington Area.
BLACK LIVES MATTER GLOBAL NETWORK, GUIDING PRINCIPLES
1. DIVERSITY – We are committed to acknowledging, respecting and celebrating differences and commonalities.
2. RESTORATIVE JUSTICE – We are committed to collectively, lovingly and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
3. UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK* – We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.
4. GLOBALISM – We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.
5. COLLECTIVE VALUE – We are guided by the fact all Black lives, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status or location [have value].
6. TRANSGENDER AFFIRMING – We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
7. BLACK WOMEN – We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness.
8. BLACK VILLAGES – We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.
9. EMPATHY – We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
10. QUEER AFFIRMING – We are committed to fostering a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.
11. LOVING ENGAGEMENT – We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.
12. BLACK FAMILIES – We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.
13. INTERGENERATIONAL – We cultivate an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.
ADDITIONAL PRINCIPLES WRITTEN BY BLACK LIVES MATTER OF GREATER BURLINGTON:
14. COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP – We are committed to recognizing, enabling, and channeling the inherent power of every individual Black person into collective power for individual and collective liberation. We are committed to a practice of accountable and transparent leadership and organizational structures that are empowering, not oppressive, because everyone has a perspective and voice that matters. We define leadership as ‘service’ to the community, and active engagement in racial justice work as the only requirement of membership. Every one of us is a warrior in the beautiful struggle for their/our freedom.
15. HEALING – We declare that the essence and end of our revolutionary struggle is healing, and are committed to making healing practice the core of our organizing work, our individual self-care practices, and our collective meeting agendas. We recognize healing is the work of love, not hatred, and that trauma has multiple sources (historical, systemic, familial, etc.). We define suffering as universal, and oppression as specific and particular, and accept that different people may need different healing paths, and that we are here to support each other on the journey.