The Stono Institute for Freedom, Justice and Security (SIFJS) is named in honor of the enslaved African freedom fighters that orchestrated and participated in the Stono River Rebellion of 1739 against British authorities and slavocrats in colonial South Carolina. The Stono Rebellion was arguably America’s first human rights rebellion and was led by an enslaved Angolan warrior named “Jemmy.” It was the largest and most successful “slave revolt” against British slavery and domination in the United States. It resulted in a ten year moratorium on the international slave trade into South Carolina and helped set the stage for the American Revolution (1775-1783). The site where the Stono Rebellion began was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
The SIFJS is the first non-partisan multi-ethnic human rights institution and think tank founded by African-Americans aimed at combating existential threats—domestic and international—to Black life and liberty including but not limited to systematic and structural racial discrimination, violent extremist vigilantism, and deadly police violence and it’s antecedents. The SIFJS’s programmatic objectives are organized into three themes, Freedom, Justice and Security, and all of its programs incorporate four core elements: education, youth, accountability and empowerment.
The SIFJS’ core belief is that every living being is divinely made and invaluable. We believe in the UN Charter’s reaffirmation of “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women” and in the promotion of “social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” The SIFJS serves as a conduit for the legitimate calls for racial justice by Americans across the racial spectrum, particularly Black youth.
The SIFJS embraces Black America’s civil and human rights traditions of robust non-violent direct action while recognizing that conventional advocacy approaches require modernization; traditional civil rights organizations and the politics that they too often serve are unable and unwilling to address modern threats and challenges confronting African-American life, liberty, development, tradition, culture, values and identity. The SIFJS partners with stakeholders from a diverse array of backgrounds to support a paradigm shift in human rights activism and advocacy aimed at empowering Black Americans from main street to wall street.
African-American human rights movements have served as the moral compass of the United States since its inception. The SIFJS embraces this rich tradition and heritage and will employ its multi-racial, national and international network and resources to protect Black life and liberty.