Yesterday was the fourth of July, when many Americans celebrate the value of freedom as part of Independence Day. But are we truly free? What did you celebrate on fourth of July?

What if you are one of the every three people sitting in jail that has not been convicted of a crime? Or what if you are serving extra time in prison due to sentence enhancements?

What does freedom mean to the more than 2 million people who are currently incarcerated? Or for those on parole who are unable to travel? What does freedom look like to an undocumented girl who cannot visit her deported mother? Or for undocumented workers whose simple act of driving to work could end in their exile from the place they call home?

How do you define freedom? What would you do to attain it?

Freedom—it’s something we have yet to achieve, but it’s not unattainable.

So join me right now in something that may seem difficult to imagine in today’s national climate. Take a minute and picture a nation with real freedom, safety, and opportunity. What does this look like to you?

I picture a world where carefree Black and Brown boys and girls can play in the park without fear of being shot. A community that goes beyond sanctuary to one where people are liberated.

I picture Freedom Cities.

#FreedomCities is a movement for safe, healthy and thriving neighborhoods and local communities, anchored by Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Enlace, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

What is the Freedom Cities vision?

  • Economic Justice: We fight for a world where everyone has the opportunity to earn a living wage and work safely with dignity. 
  • End to Criminalization: We believe in safety beyond policing and demand local budgets that prioritize investment in real public safety including public health based approaches, mental health services and restorative practices, and divestment from policing and militarization.
  • Political Power & Community Control: We demand real control of the policies and budgets of the institutions that people interact with daily, including police and other public agencies.
  • Community Defense: We will protect and provide sanctuary for each other by establishing systems of self defense in neighborhoods for our rights and dignity.
  • Investment in People & Planet: We pass budgets that invest in the basic needs of our communities including housing, education, health, good food, and safety net programs. For too long we’ve divested from the basic needs of communities of color while pouring resources into the militarization of policing, surveillance and incarceration. It's time to reverse the this trend and invest in people and the planet.
  • Racial & Gender Justice: We explicitly reject anti-blackness and patriarchy. Everybody, regardless of race or gender, should be able to share equitably in the distribution of power, knowledge, and resources.
  • Global Justice: We know that our struggles for liberation have always been linked with others across the world, and our identities and migration histories link us globally. We are part of an international movement of those who believe that everybody deserves safety and freedom.

Learn more about Freedom Cities:

Share with us on social media what your vision for freedom looks like—if we dream and act together, we can win the freedom we all value.