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 Citizenship Initiative: The Black Citizenship Initiative embraces and promotes African-American conceptions of patriotism. This initiative will institute educational and advocacy programs focused on defining, redefining and reconstructing the conception of Black citizenship based on African-American history, traditions, customs, culture, belief and family values. We will train a new generation of Black patriots in social advocacy, community organization, economic development, and entrepreneurship by employing the radical Black tradition of citizenship; defending America abroad while serving as its moral compass in the homeland. In doing so, 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 Racial Justice 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-driven and are partnering with communities rich in African-American culture, civil groups and activists, churches, community centers, public schools, foster homes and beyond 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: SIFJS’s Human Rights Advocacy Program aims to: 1) safeguard the fundamental human rights of African-Americans; 2) educate and empower the public about vital racial justice issues; and 3) promote the greater ideals of freedom, equality, equity, justice and humanity in Central Florida, the U.S. and beyond. The SIFJS also regularly organizes master seminars, webinars, face-to-face trainings on a myriad of topics from institutionalized racism and corporate social responsibility to Christian nationalism and terrorism. We partnered with the business community, law enforcement, civil society and other allies to assist victims of racial injustice seek justice, support community-based restorative justice initiatives and police education and training.
The Human Rights Advocate and Education Project is SIFJS signature program; a people-to-people driven initiative that provides a safe, secure and supportive environment for alleged victims of police abuse and violent white extremist vigilantism to receive moral and legal assistance. We also provide rights-based and de-escalation education and training to citizens and police officers, particularly Black youth. The Project monitors reports 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 initiative is anchored by Stono Institute staff but includes volunteers with relevant operational and subject-matter expertise.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Benjamin Franklin
As a part of our Human Rights Education and Advocacy Program, SIFJS developed a comprehensive and innovative online police training course titled: Black Americans: Race Conscious, Racial Bias, and Discriminatory Policing and Unlawful Traffic Stops. We are hoping that this training and other courses that follow educate and build trust and community cooperation between law enforcement and Black communities. It’s core objective is to root-out systemic and structural racism and confront excessive uses of force in policing. Specifically, this groundbreaking curriculum and our other Black-Blue de-escalation initiatives are 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 is establishing 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.
Finally, the SIFJS is developing 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.