A Call to End State-Sanctioned Violence


An uprising for racial justice is sweeping the country. News and videos of state-sanctioned violence have flooded our televisions and social media, raising our awareness of the countless Black men, women, and children whose lives have been violently stolen. We know some of their names: Tony McDade. George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Atatiana Jefferson. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. As people gather to call for justice, we have seen the brutal treatment of protesters and journalists by police. But what is captured on video represents only the tiniest fraction of the state-sanctioned violence Black people experience. That is why this uprising is necessary. And humanists must participate.

Humanism is centered around human ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives. Humanist values can provide a resonant answer to social crises, but that means humanists have to be willing to take action as we become more aware of the harms caused by our cultural and political systems—and by our place in them. The violence that is embedded in white culture requires an ethical response, especially from humanists. Especially from white humanists. White culture has caused hundreds of years of violence against Black lives—and it was built by white people, for the benefit of white lives. For the sake of Black lives, it must be deconstructed. Here’s what you can do.

Foundation Beyond Belief is calling on white humanists to fight for an end to state-sanctioned violence. This means:

  1. Defunding police and supporting community-led policing alternatives.

  2. Learning more about anti-racist work and participating in that work.

  3. Following the leadership of Black and brown organizations and responding when they call for action.

2020-May-white people walking into sunset

You can start right now. Here’s your homework.

1. Donate to Pure Justice, a Black-led organization in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, working to “amplify the needs and voices of individuals forced to live on the margins due to regressive policies of our current criminal justice system and economic structure. Through organizing, educating, advocating, and innovating, Pure Justice empowers its members and supporters to proactively pursue the changes they deserve.” Pure Justice also co-sponsors the Houston Bail Fund. We also encourage you to support organizations in your community working to #DefundThePolice, as well as local bail funds.

2. Check out our Rising for Justice resource page for opportunities to learn and act.

3. Follow and donate to the work of Black-led organizations in the humanist movement. These organizations need and deserve as much support as our historically white organizations. Some prominent examples include:


“Too many people in the U.S. support death and destruction without being aware of it. They indirectly support the killing of people without ever having to look at the corpses.” – Assata Shakur