IRANIAN-PERSIAN AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF GREATER LONG BEACH
The Drum Beats Loudest Before it Bursts†
Iranian Persian American Association of Greater Long Beach (IPAA) Stands in Solidarity with Black Communities Everywhere
We express our solidarity with Black Communities everywhere in our common quest for justice and promise of freedom. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of History, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School during an interview succinctly gave a historical overview of police force and resistance to racism.
A glance at the history of mid-1600s and early 1700s shows that colony after colony passed a series of Black Codes or Negro Acts, all designed to empower white citizens with the responsibility and duty to serve in an official capacity to surveil, monitor, track and dispense punishment against enslaved African People. White slave owners viewed the African slaves as essential labor force and the Patrols made certain the free labor not misbehave or run away. After the birth of the nation in 1790, the situation for blacks was little changed. Although the abolition laws resulted in gradual “free blacks”, their role in society was still seen as an essential labor. The slave patrols of the past gradually became the uniformed police officers and continued policing the “essential workers” to benefit the elite and privileged. Slavery resulted in obvious economical inequality. However, the freed slaves continued to suffer from economic inequality and were severely suppressed by the police when challenging the political authorities. ††
This historical context provided by Professor Khalil Muhammad denotes a background to better understand the demands of hundreds of thousands of people who are marching to denounce racism and demand justice and equality for all, nationally and globally. IPAA stands in solidarity with Black and other oppressed communities, demanding an end to discrimination of any kind. Racism persists unless economic disparity is ended, unless equal employment opportunities with decent wages are provided, unless all have access to healthcare and quality education. The struggles and advocacy of many in our nation’s history have been sluggish and bumpy.
Civil Rights reform prospects and trajectories have seen significant legislations as the result of legacy of struggles including the1848 right to suffrage for women, 1866 passage of the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery and the Declaration of Civil Rights Acts to establish equal protection among all citizens; the 15thAmendment was designed and passed to grant the right to vote to people of color. However, in terms of reform outcomes, the road was bumpy; it was not until 1920 when women were granted the right to vote or sex based discrimination was prohibited in 1963 not to mention the fact that it was in 1964 that discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, and sex or national origin came to be prohibited; the Fair Housing act was only passed in1968. Let us not forget Americans with Disability Act was ratified in 1990 and Equal Pay Act was passed in 2019. Despite all the progress, the foundation of civil rights acts has been undermined and eroded; that is why today many have embarked on engaging in an anti-racist struggle.
Perhaps, 2020 is the year the drums will burst and relinquish the structural injustices in our society!
† An African proverb
†† Khalil Gibran Muhammad Professor of History, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, author “The Condemnation of Blackness” in interview by Amy Goodwin, June 10, 2020