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  • The Black Lives Matter movement gains steam as it puts forth its demands.

    The Black Lives Matter movement gains steam as it puts forth its demands. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 August 2016

The six demands touched on topics such as the decriminalization of Black youth, the reduction of U.S. military spending and reparations for past harms.

A collective of Black organizations under the banner of the Movement for Black Lives have called for an end to the war against Black people in the U.S. in the first unified Black Lives Matter platform released Monday.

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“In response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country have come together … to articulate a common vision and agenda. We are a collective that centers and is rooted in Black communities, but we recognize we have a shared struggle with all oppressed people; collective liberation will be a product of all of our work,” the platform began.

The six demands and roughly 40 policy recommendations touched on topics ranging from the decriminalization and dehumanization of Black youth, the reduction of U.S. military spending and “reparations for past and continuing harms.”

The program was released days before the second anniversary on August 9 of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teen in Ferguson, Missouri by a white police officer, who was never charged for Brown's death.

"We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform," Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, one of the organizations that worked on the platform, said in a statement.

As part of its first demand to end the war against Black people, the M4BL Policy Table, which developed the platform over the past year, called for an end to capital punishment; an end to the war on Black immigrants, trans, queer and gender nonconforming people; and the demilitarization of law enforcement.

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In its call for reparations, the platform stated, “The government, responsible corporations and other institutions that have profited off of the harm they have inflicted on Black people—from colonialism to slavery … must repair the harm done.” It further demanded full, free access to education and a livable wage.

As part of its economic justice platform, the activists called for federal and state job programs; the right to organize; and an end to the Trans Pacific Trade deal.

The BLM has stated that it will not back any presidential candidate and instead called for community control, “We demand a world where those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us—from our schools to our local budgets, economies, police departments, and our land—while recognizing that the rights and histories of our Indigenous family must also be respected.”

The M4BL concluded that "neither mainstream political party has our interests at heart," adding, "By every metric—from the hue of its prison population to its investment choices—the U.S. is a country that does not support, protect or preserve Black life.”

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