We Charge Genocide is a grassroots, inter-generational effort to center the voices and experiences of the young people most targeted by police violence in Chicago. Instances of police violence reveal the underlying relationship between marginalized communities and the state. This is a relationship of unequal access to power and resources. This is also a relationship where violence is too often used by the police to silence, isolate, control and repress low-income people and young people of color of color in particular.
Right now, young people in communities across Chicago are being targeted, harassed and violated by law enforcement. Some will unfortunately also be physically hurt and perhaps killed. Recent stories, such as the incident where a young man named Damo was tased by the police, hit his head, and later died make us feel overwhelmed and at times powerless about how to respond.
We Charge Genocide was started to offer a vehicle for needed organizing and social transformation.
We Charge Genocide was started to offer a vehicle for needed organizing and social transformation. The initiative is entirely volunteer-run. We are Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in our city. We are not a 501c3 and we do this work intentionally outside of the nonprofit industrial complex (which has sometimes silenced community advocates from being able to propose radical ideas and solutions). The name We Charge Genocide comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951, which documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses mostly by the police.
There is a long tradition of collecting testimonies of human rights violations and taking those to the UN but there’s never been a specifically youth-driven effort. We want to connect the dots through lifting up youth testimony and youth voices on police violence in our city.
In addition, We Charge Genocide hopes to equip individuals across Chicago with information, resources, and tools to more proactively “police” the police. We Charge Genocide respects and seeks to lift up the existing efforts to hold the Chicago Police Department accountable, to reform the CPD, and in some cases to seek viable alternatives to policing. Our goal is not to reinvent the wheel but rather to explicitly include young people’s voices in these efforts and to encourage youth-driven solutions.
Our work to end police violence relies on two primary strategies: education and documentation. Both are central to our organizing efforts. We invite community involvement (and especially youth involvement) in “We Charge Genocide.”
Want to join We Charge Genocide? New members are welcome to attend our monthly meetings.
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