Mount Island is a Black-run publishing house, and we stand unequivocally with the current movement for justice in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many other beloved Black lives. This is a Black Spring now. An unprecedented uprising across the nation. The many racist institutions that have violated America’s Black and brown peoples for centuries must be defunded, abolished, replaced with healing and just counterpowers.
As an organization that explicitly brings together people of color and LGBTQIA+ people racialized as white, we feel it is important to underscore the intersectional nature of the justice sought in this current movement, and to affirm that rural communities must fight for that justice as fiercely as frontline protesters in the cities. All oppressed peoples are bound together on the path to collective liberation. The erasure in rural America of Black, brown, queer, and trans lives is one arm in the system of white supremacy and capitalism, and the violent subjugation of our urban communities is another.
Protests against police brutality and white supremacy have erupted all across rural America, from here in Vermont to small towns in Montana, Washington, New Mexico, and many more. In Vermont’s tiny capital of Montpelier, population 8,000, roughly 5,000 people gathered to protest on Sunday, June 7. In Minneapolis, people power is forcing the police department there into a corner. Their contracts with Minneapolis Public Schools and The Minneapolis Park Board have been terminated, and now the Minneapolis city council has announced their intent to disband the police, “to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems of public safety.” This is the beginning of a nationwide call to reimagine our communities. This movement must be taken up in every city, town, and village in the country.
In the days since the protest began, many resources have been shared to help people take action, be that on the ground in protests, by supporting anti-racist organizations and Black-owned businesses, or by reshaping our own worldviews. We implore all those who have yet to begin this work to do so immediately. We’ve collected a few resources here.
- This chart that breaks down the differences between a reformist and an abolitionist approach to policing, from Critical Resistance.
- Bookshop.org’s anti-racist reading list. There are many anti-racist reading lists out there now. This one allows you to order easily from Bookshop.org, which, apart from your local library, is the best Amazon alternative for ordering books.
- This statement from JAG Productions, an African-American theater company in White River Junction, Vermont. JAG’s statement collects several specific steps for “all people and institutions in Vermont and the Upper Valley to commit to,” with which we wholeheartedly agree, and which should be asked of any person or institution, anywhere.
- This list of bail funds across the country, all of which need your donations now.
At Mount Island we will continue our work of amplifying rural Black, brown, queer and trans voices, making it known that we belong everywhere. Adjustments to our 2020 activities in light of the Covid-19 pandemic have been announced on our website. If you’d like to support our work, consider making an online donation.
Power to the people!
Desmond Peeples, Editor in Chief
Shanta Lee Gander, Outreach and Publicity Director