Who we are:
Rice For Black Life is a Black-led coalition of Rice students, alumni, and affiliates (past, present or proximate) organizing ourselves and our resources to support Black liberation and the abolition of white structures.
What we are about:
We are for Black Life in all its forms. We protect Black people. We support reinforcing the viability and safety of Black life in all forms and work with the express purpose of dismantling systems of white supremacy and Black subjection locally and beyond.
What we are doing:
Rather than reinventing the wheel, we work to support the efforts of grassroots organizers mobilizing and agitating for Black liberation and the abolishment of white supremacy. Right now, in light of recent events, we are mobilizing where we can best: in our own networks. As such, we are seeking to take advantage of the financial privilege and resources that many in the Rice community have access to in order to support these grassroots organizers and their concerted efforts.
These funds will be distributed to: Black Lives Matter Houston, Texas Organizing Project, Indivisible Houston, and Pure Justice. These organizations were chosen because of their deep connection to Black issues and the Houston community, and their advocacy for social/policy change in relation to state-sanctioned violence against Black people. We will be closing this fundraiser at 11:59 PM CT.
More details about our chosen organizations:
Black Lives Matter Houston (BLM Houston) is “build[ing] a movement that transforms Houston into a city that allows Black Houston to grow and thrive.” BLM Houston prioritizes issues of criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, and police brutality, and has been at the forefront of of recent protest and bail fund efforts in Houston.
Texas Organizing Project (TOP) organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris, and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. Led by working families, TOP is involved in direct action, grassroots lobbying, and electoral organizing. In regards to criminal justice reform, TOP regularly fights for the release of incarcerated individuals and is working at the legislative level to reform the bail system, end debtors prison, and hold police accountable.
Indivisible Houston works to build an inclusive coalition at the citywide level to fight the rise of tyranny and the police state in America. They are committed to combating the civil rights violations of the Trump administration that are supported by state and local governments. After the murder of George Floyd, Indivisible Houston has worked with Black Lives Matter to support protesters in the community.
Pure Justice advocates for changes in the criminal justice system and has fought to improve the overall lives of low income families in Harris County. Through their prison outreach initiatives, “Know Your Rights” workshops, recent COVID-19 community grants, and ongoing bail fund program, Pure Justice provides direct support to Black people in Houston.
Funds raised will be split equally among each of these organizations. We encourage you to read more about the wonderful work that they do, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have about these organizations or Rice for Black Life. Thank you for your participation!
Facilitation Note on Disbursment: Due to GoFundMe restrictions on the number of beneficiaries that can be listed through the platform. The Texas Organizing Project organizing project has stepped up to be our main campaign beneficiary in receiving the funds and assisting us in disbursing an equal share of the funds to our other three fantastic groups (BLM Hou, Indivisible & Pure Justice). We are grateful to TOP and their funds manager, John, in helping facilitate this process!
SHEER AWE!!! Today you demonstrated that it is possible to come together as a Rice community to decry anti-Black violence. As of 6/1/2020 at 12AM CT, we have raised $93,362, more than 37 times our original goal of $2,500.
We are overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the hard work y’all put in today. Overall, we:
-Amassed donations from over 2,200 people, with a max individual donation of $1500. Most of our donations were small dollar donations, averaging $10, $20, or $50.
-Engaged 294 volunteers for the Contact-a-thon Facebook event and 130 people in our Kick-off Zoom call. Most people reached out to 20-50 people in their network, with some reaching out to more than 100!
-Shared the GoFundMe over 5,100 times on various social media platforms.
-Built a Facebook following of 1,273 followers for Rice for Black Life.
-Established contact with at least five other schools who would like to replicate Rice for Black Life’s model at their own school.
As mentioned above, we are raising funds for Black Lives Matter Houston, Texas Organizing Project, Indivisible Houston, and Pure Justice. That’s over $20,000 for each organization!! Concretely, the amount we raised today is life-affirming for Black individuals and families. Our work today will help provide direct support to Black folks, financially aid protestors, pay off bails, and promote advocacy to dismantle the carceral state, including legislation to end debtors’ prison, hold police accountable, and reform the bail system.
For transparency’s sake, these organizations were chosen because of:
-Their historical involvement and deep ties with the Black community and issues in Houston.
-Their advocacy for social/policy change in relation to state and state-sanctioned violence against Black people
-Our past personal experiences volunteering with these organizations
-Our recent vetting calls to determine their goals and objectives in the current moment, especially in supporting bail funds
If you or one of your friends did NOT get a chance to donate, do not fret!! This is the perfect time to build the habit of donating directly to small grassroot organizations. In addition to the four organizations mentioned above, please also consider:
-BLMHTX (distinct from BLM Houston) is a mutual aid fund dedicated to providing resources to vulnerable communities in the form of rental assistance, financial assistance, and safety kits (in light of COVID-19): https://www.blmhtx.org/
-Restoring Justice provides bail funds and legal case support to recently incarcerated individuals, as well as pending case trauma care to their families. (note: Pure Justice and Restoring Justice have a joint bail fund, but otherwise offer distinct services!): https://www.restoringjustice.org/
-Local Bail Funds in your state or city: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1X4-YS3vFn5CLL9QtJSU0xqmTh_h8XilXgOqGAjZISBI/mobilebasic
Rice for Black Life is less than 5 days old, but we are 100% committed to supporting the change that local organizations have been fighting towards for decades. In the future, we aim to lift up Black issues and demands on Rice’s campus. We will redirect the time, energy, and financial resources of the Rice community towards direct and mutual aid campaigns, and we will assist other students and alumni at their own universities.
We will close by lifting up the stories from our volunteers and donors today. When sharing why supporting Black liberation was important to them, they said:
“My children (including two Rice students) should be able to breathe, sleep, jog, play a video game, or chill at home without the fear of being murdered just because they are black. Their lives mean something!”
“In any hate incident, the bystanders play a crucial role. Let's not be bystanders.”
“It's silly that equal people still receive unequal treatment based on their skin color. Black lives matter, and I hope we can use this point in history to bring change to the system that has failed to eliminate these prejudices.”
And overwhelmingly, the most common comment was the simple but powerful affirmation that “Black Lives Matter.” Today has shown us that when we are feeling the most scared, angry, and dis-empowered we have but to remember Claudette Colvin’s guidance:
"Our leaders is just we, ourself"
Rice for Black Life Organizers
DonationsSee top donations
- Suravi Sarkar
- Michael Dai
Fundraising team: Rice For Black Life (2)
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