Jammin' for Justice awardee spotlight: Black Lives Matter Boston and the Boston Coalition for Police Accountability

May 12, 2015

As we prepare for Jammin' for Justice, our biggest celebration and fundraiser of the year, we'd like to highlight two recipients of our EJ Awards, Black Lives Matter Boston (BLM Boston) and the Boston Coalition for Police Accountability (BCPA).

BLM Boston formed in response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police last August in Ferguson, Mo. BCPA is comprised of nearly 40 groups (ACE is a member) and came together last year after formative conversations about police practices in 2013. Both work in solidarity with groups across the country and address law enforcement targeting of black youth and youth of color locally and nationally.

"I want to see young people empowered, able to challenge things on a day-to-day basis, challenging police in the streets," said Carl Williams of BCPA. "I want to see people feel safe and supported in their community."

In the past year, BLM Boston and BCPA have led thousands of people in marches, organized creative actions and held community meetings to build the movement for police accountability and racial justice.

"I do this work because I feel called to it," said Daunasia Yancey, BLM Boston organizer. "Those without freedom cannot rest. I have to participate in the struggle any way that I can."

Organizers engaged Boston residents both on- and offline to end racist policing and violence, holding actions from the State House to the South Bay House of Corrections to Newbury Street that received extensive press coverage.

"This system was not built for us. It wasn't built for any of us," said Carl. "We can change that. We live in a system of racial control, not a criminal justice system that protects us."

BCPA has three main demands: Body cameras for cops, receipts provided to civilians for all encounters (like stop and frisks, searches and interviews), and regularly published data on civilian encounters, including race, gender, age and the reason for the encounter.

"Liberation. That's my vision," said Daunasia. "Our vision is to keep building - building our community the way that we can and continue to dismantle the system that's killing us all."

This award also recognizes key organizers Daunasia Yancey and Seneca Joyner for their exceptional work with BLM Boston and BCPA. Thank you for your dedication and leadership!