We stand in solidarity with the youth and all the people of Baltimore that are actively resisting institutions and systems of oppression that continue to justify state violence that is destroying black lives. The “thugs” are the police officers that patrol our neighborhoods using tactics of intimidation, brutalization, and dehumanization to control our communities. The “looters” are the policymakers that rezone our communities bulldozing the way for gentrification, fund school-to-prison pipelines, divert public money to private corporations, and disinvests in our communities until we are left without decent housing, adequate, healthcare, healthy food options, and economic opportunities that lead to a living wage. This year, Larry Hogan, the Governor of Maryland, proposed to cut $68 million from the states education budget, with Baltimore City bearing the biggest loss in funding. That is looting.

Who stands besides us to call for peace when the police are brutalizing us, our loved ones and our neighbors? We stand beside each other. We hold each other up through our tears and pain. Who calls out for swift justice and accountability for the murderers of Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley Jones, Jessie Hernandez, Ramarely Graham, Freddie Gray, and the countless other black lives the media leaves unnamed, but whose names we will never forget because we loved them dearly and because their lives matter. The lives of black children, black women, black men, and black trans lives matter. But when we scream and cry out for justice, our calls go unheard. Dr. King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”

We hear the young people in Baltimore calling out Black Lives Matter. Their calls are echoed by young people in communities from New York to Los Angeles, from Chicago to Miami, and everywhere in between. It is time someone really listened to us! Young people have always been the vanguard of revolutionary movements for freedom, peace, and justice and we will continue to love and support each other through this struggle! We have nothing to lose but our chains!