SIFJS’s programmatic objectives are organized into three themes, FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND SECURITY, and each program incorporates four principles including education, youth, accountability and empowerment.
Black Veterans Reintegration Support Program: The SIFJS will help veterans navigate the benefits maze and bureaucracy by providing legal and administrative assistance to African-American veterans seeking to file, claim and obtain healthcare, disability, social security and other vital benefits and services including employment assistance as well as partner with groups such as the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to effectuate it’s mandate.The acclaimed report, “Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans,” concludes that between 1877-1950, “no one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than black veterans.” The extrajudicial murder, torture and assault of Black ex-soldiers is well known to historian but largely ignored reality component of American history.
Forty-five percent of homeless women veterans are Black women. Today, while only comprising 14% of the military, women constitute 95% of reported sex crime victims. Black women represent one-third of all women in the U.S. military or nearly twice their representation in the U.S. population; hence, the newest wave of Black veterans adversely affected by race and gender discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, “suicide” and murder, are Black women.
“No one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than black veterans.”
Lynching in America: Targeting Black Americans published by The New Yorker article The Tragic, Forgotten History of Black Military Veterans by Peter C. Baker
Black Citizenship Initiative: The SIFJS supports non-violent national protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and countless other African-Americans at the hands of deadly police violence and violent white extremist vigilantism. The Black Citizenship Initiative will institute educational and advocacy programs focused on black citizenship rooted in African-American history, traditions, customs, culture, belief and family values. We will train a new generation of Black patriots in community organization; economic development; entrepreneurship; Black civics; and human rights-based activism using the Six Principles of Non-Violence articulated by Martin Luther King, Jr. The SIFJS will recreate, re-imagine and confront the modern template of Black Citizenship institutionalized by the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford that determined neither enslaved nor free blacks were citizens of the United States and that “people of African ancestry were “beings of an inferior order” and “so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”
The Black Citizenship Initiative will institute several initiatives including a Rites of Passage mentoring program and offer a Stono Institute Racial Justice Certificate program; both of which employ Black history, urban survival skills and community development and organization as a vehicle to build self esteem, motivation, pride, accountability and leadership in Black Americans. This initiative is client and we will partner with communities rich in African-American culture, civil groups and activists, churches, community centers, public schools, foster homes and street gangs to ensure participation.
“If it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments-I submit; so let it be done.” John Brown
Human Rights Advocacy Program: The SIFJS is initiating racial justice centered civil and human rights advocacy to safeguard the fundamental rights of African-Americans and the greater ideals of freedom, equality, justice and humanity in domestic and international arenas. The SIFJS is organizing a series of webinars, face-to-face training’s and advocacy support targeting predominantly Black communities. We are partnering with the business community, law enforcement agencies, civil society and other allies to support restorative justice and truth and reconciliation programs aimed at building the nation’s largest community education and advocacy program to assist victims of racial injustice seek justice.
The Human Rights Education Advocate Project is a people-to-people driven initiative that will provide a safe, secure and supportive environment to conduct rights-based education and training to alleged victims of police misconduct and violent extremism, particularly Black youth, about their rights, duties and obligations as citizens. The Project will also monitor report on discriminatory media posts, transmissions or other dissemination of information and behavior that may amount to harassment, threats of violence, or similar conduct in consonance with the social media policy of law enforcement agencies. This program is anchored by Stono Institute staff but include expert volunteers from law enforcement, judiciary, lawyers, professors, corporate leaders, clergy, psychologists, mental health care professionals, community activists.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Benjamin Franklin
Black-Blue Conflict De-escalation Program: The SIFJS will also partner with police agencies to build trust and community cooperation with Black communities, root-out systemic and structural racism, and confront excessive uses of force in policing. It will do this by offering innovative instructional programs and by leveraging state of the art technologies to provide cutting edge race conscious and de-escalation training to police officers and African American youth.
The Black Blue Race Conscious Project is designed to combat anti Black bias in policing and reduce excessive uses of force by: 1) building trust, familiarity, empathy and community cooperation between police officers and Black youth and adults through a series of race conscious training’s using face to face conversations, role playing, case scenarios and teachings in African American history and culture and; 2) training youth and adults in de-escalation strategies to reduce conflict and deadly violence during traffic stops and other interactions with police.
The SIFJS will establish a Data Examination Project aimed at collecting and providing quantitative and qualitative analyses of arrest, citation, traffic stop and complaint rates to identify anti-Black racial disparity trends including such factors as race, gender, age and area code or community. It will also assist law enforcement agencies to conduct racial animus testing for new recruits and existing officers.
The SIFJS will develop two new apps aimed at de-escalating conflict and safeguarding African-American drivers during and after traffic stops including: 1) The Racial Justice Mobile app, which will track, digitally record, monitor and mediate traffic stops and after the stop behavior and other interactions with police and: 2) The De-escalation and Safety app, which will confirm the identity of drivers and automate citations and interactions thereby reducing the opportunity for conflict escalation during traffic stops. Automation technology will reduce conflict during traffic stops.
“Unless racism, apathy and violence are uprooted in police culture, civilian-police distrust, animosity, and conflict is inevitable.” Dr. Jeremy Levitt
Anti-Black Hate Project: Nearly 50% of all victims of hate crimes are African-American and white supremacist hate groups have increased by 55% in the past three years. SIFJS is establishing an Anti-Black Hate Project that will work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and civil society organizations to conduct research, monitor, and diminish the capacity of anti-black hate groups and extremist vigilantism to promote hatred and violence.1
“We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism. We’re gonna fight racism with solidarity.” Fred Hampton
Gun Rights, Safety and Education Program: The SIFJS recognizes that gun safety and education is vital to embracing the 2nd Amendment and self-defense. And, while we celebrate Black America’s rich tradition of gun ownership, the SIFJS aims to reduce gun violence in African-American communities by administering culturally relevant gun safety, education, and familiarization tool-kits, seminars and courses for African-American gun owners and enthusiasts. Everyday 36,400 Americans die from gun violence. Unarmed black civilians are nearly 5 times more likely than unarmed white civilians to be shot and killed by police. Black Americans are 10 times more likely than white Americans to be murdered with a gun and 87% of black homicide victims are killed with guns. This paradox necessitates serious consideration.
“A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for the protection which the law refuses to give.” Ida B. Wells
1 The enormous spike in racialized mass shootings, lone wolf attacks and random acts of lethal force against African-Americans can no longer be ignored and traditional civil rights organizations are unprepared to address this national crisis. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warn that white supremacist groups pose a direct and immediate threat to the United States and engage in more acts of lethal violence than any other extremist groups or movements, which according to the Nation Institute, outnumbers attacks by Islamist incidents by a 2-to-1 margin. The FBI is currently investigating 1000 anti-Black white supremacist terrorism cases.