Before the COVID-19 crisis, there was growing recognition that structural racism perpetuates unequal and adverse life outcomes for Black people. The New York Times Magazine’s 1619 project shed light on how Black people and their needs have been historically exploited, neglected, and undervalued in the creation of our nation’s culture, economy, and democracy. The disproportionate effects of the COVID crisis, along with the ongoing uprising to end police brutality, is now illuminating this fact even brighter. Yet outside of the visionary leaders and organizations shaping the current movement for Black lives, there is still a great deal of reluctance, even among the progressive-minded, to consider the Black experience as unique and foundational to shaping America’s economic and social policies — and our nation’s collective future. It is time to embark on a serious and sustained effort to center Blackness and the Black experience as a necessary strategy to ensure economic liberation for all Americans.
- Centering Blackness demands that we create and design policies and practices that intentionally lift up and protect Black people.
- Anti-blackness doesn’t only impact Black people; it holds back and harms all Americans and necessitates collective healing.
- Centering Blackness allows for a completely different worldview to emerge, free from the constraints of white supremacy and patriarchy.
Centering Blackness Framework | June 2020
This essay is intended to provide the reasoning, vision and framework for our collective well-being that addresses the intentional disinvestment, dehumanization, and exclusion of Black people from economic prosperity by centering the Black experience. While not exhaustive in its scope, it is our hope that this initial essay can spark dialogue and encourage community members, advocates, organizers, researchers, writers, and artists to think and act together toward an aspirational goal of centering Blackness as a means for economic liberation for all.
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Sponsored by the Insight Center, the Black Thought Project transforms public and private spaces into sanctuaries for the expression of Black thought. The Black Thought Project envisions communities where Black people are given safe spaces to reflect, are listened to and honored for their experiences and perspectives.
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We believe the Black experience is sacred. Worthy of protection. The seed of our nation’s healing. The Black Thought Project, sponsored by the Insight Center, creates experiences where Black people can share their perspectives while others witness, protect, and honor those thoughts.
Click here to learn more about the Black Thought Project.