Benji #StopCopCity Hart Profile picture
(they/them) / interdisciplinary artist, author, educator / words in @TIME @TeenVogue @TheAdvocateMag / fellow with @MacDowell1907 @YaddoToday @Chi_Dancemakers
Dec 2, 2020 5 tweets 3 min read
The abolitionists of the 1800s lost a big audience when they said the institution of chattel slavery couldn't be redeemed. Slave owners--many rich and powerful--felt alienated by the statement. It was polarizing. In fact, it led to war. #DefundPolice… It would have been more diplomatic to call for reform: To stop beating slaves, to not separate parents from children, but allow the institution's core--one pop. of people owning another--to continue unfettered. Perhaps they might have won more over to their cause. #DefundPolice
Sep 22, 2020 15 tweets 5 min read
THREAD: I’m voting early for #BidenHarris2020.

Here’s why, against many of my core values, I’m doing so, why you should too if you’re able, AND why voting in this election is not revolutionary, and deeply insufficient: I believe we need to use every tool we have at this moment. I believe a contested election gives us more fodder than one where Trump wins easily. I believe a racist establishment president is NOT BETTER but MORE NAVIGABLE than a fascist for of our most marginalized communities.
Sep 3, 2020 6 tweets 4 min read
It's good that more ppl are aware of the overlap between law enforcement, vigilante militias, and white nationalist organizing, but I'm also disturbed by the discourse that one has "infiltrated" the other. They are the same. #DefundPolice #AbolishPolice… The overlap between law enforcement and white nationalism isn't a recent event. One is inseparable from the other. If police departments evolved from slave patrols, then policing begins with the goal of white nationalism. #DefundPolice #AbolishPolice…
Aug 26, 2020 5 tweets 4 min read
The saddest thing about @ChiPubSchools voting yet again to keep police in CPS ins't just that they're on the wrong side of history, it's that getting on the right side is inevitable.

#PoliceFreeSchools will be reality. You're just waisting time/$ until we get there. #CopsOutCPS Hearing officials today use terms like "school to prison pipeline" and "restorative justice" while arguing FOR police in schools was insulting, and not even a good cover. We know exactly where you stand, and more importantly, we know where we stand. #CopsOutCPS #PoliceFreeSchools
Aug 21, 2020 7 tweets 3 min read
Grateful to @them for running this story on HRC's deletion of a tweet praising #LoriLightfoot after Black and brown Chicagoans pointed to its hypocrisy.

I also want to challenge some of the analysis here, which comes directly from the her administration:… From the article:

"In addition to the police beatings of protesters, Lightfoot also drew criticism for nightly shutdowns of transit service through downtown...The nightly road and transit closures, unrelated to protesting, were enacted after looting downtown on August 10."
Aug 18, 2020 4 tweets 4 min read

#StopLightfoot #DefundCPD #PeopleOverProperty #Lightfoot has a similar profile to her predecessor #RahmEmanuel in that her national image and her status in the Democratic party matter much more to her than the opinion of local Chicagoans--especially Black, brown, immigrant, poor and working ones. #StopLightfoot #DefundCPD
Aug 17, 2020 8 tweets 7 min read
Many folks have shared this thread, and asked what they can do to make up for the grave mistake of supporting #LoriLightfoot and believing she was a progressive. Great question. Here's some ideas: 1. Learn some history. #LoriLightfoot has a record of repression, gentrification, anti-Black violence. Black queer women organizers were the original folks who warned us of this. Supporting Black candidates is meaningless while ignoring Black community.…
Aug 16, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
If you voted/campaigned for #LoriLightfoot, uplifted the promises she made during her campaign, or tried to convince others she'd be a progressive mayor, you should be the most vocal in calling out the violence she is unleashing on #Chicago's Black/brown communities and youth. We all make mistakes/miscalculations. We are all wrong sometimes. We are culpable when we refuse to own our mistakes, admit we were wrong, and take responsibility for the consequences of our miscalculations. If you thought #LoriLightfoot was a progressive, you made a mistake.
Aug 11, 2020 4 tweets 3 min read
The wealthy bemoaning that social unrest is making them lose business and has them "rethinking their commitment to the city" says a lot about what their commitment to #Chicago is actually based on. #BlackLivesMatter #PeopleOverProperty… Wealthy Chicagoans threatening to take their hoarded resources elsewhere is a dogwhistle. They know well that the massive police force and the violence it commits regularly are meant to keep their property protected at the expense of the rest of the city. #BlackLivesMatter
Jul 19, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
One of my pet peeves is when people of privilege (particularly but not exclusively white people) dismiss a demand being made by the people they are oppressing as implausible or impossible because "you will never get people to support it." #DefundPolice As though popular support is required for them to stop harming other people. As though public opinion doesn't include themselves. As though the "people" they're referring to are off wandering around somewhere else, and not engaged in the exact battle at hand. #DefundPolice
Jul 13, 2020 10 tweets 9 min read
This is the argument police depts. nationally are relying on as demands to #DefundPolice mount: That cutting police depts. is a racial justice issues because it will disproportionately impact officers of color. #AbolishPolice #DefendBlackLife… It's the exact argument #LoriLightfoot made shamefully in the NYT weeks ago, insisting that jobs in the police dept. were one of the only paths to middle-classness for Black and brown Chicagoans. #DefundPolice #AbolishPolice #DefendBlackLife…
Jul 2, 2020 10 tweets 6 min read
Thread: A loving note from your local, stressed-out freelancer:

#DefundPolice #AbolishPolice We will still need to learn about and organize around defunding police in the fall. We will still need to learn about and organize around defunding police after November. We will still need to learn about and organize around defunding police in 2021. #DefundPolice #AbolishPolice
Jun 16, 2020 6 tweets 4 min read
THREAD: For those struggling with the idea of abolishing the police, let's try and exercise:

Imagine if I created a machine that dropped dog poop on your head. That's its whole purpose.

#DefundPolice #AbolishPolice Imagine I did this because the country had just abolished dropping dog poop on people's heads, and I was in my feelings about it because I wanted to keep dropping dog poop on your head specifically.

#DefundPolice #AbolishPolice
Jun 10, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
I was feeling deeply overwhelmed today, then had a good talk with @mayacriesalot. A reminder for myself and others: - We saw some unprecedented wins in the last weeks, but this is still a longterm fight. We are not going to defund/abolish all policing this week, and that's okay.
Jun 8, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
THREAD: Here are some chants I'd love to see retired, and alternative chants you can do in their place.

#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor #DefundPolice #AbolishPolice RETIRE: "No justice, no peace! No racist police!"

INSTEAD: "No justice, no peace, DEFUND the police," or "No justice no peace, ABOLISH police."
Jun 6, 2020 6 tweets 5 min read
So many corporations, companies, conglomerates are coming out "against racism" (which doesn't actually say or mean anything) because it's ECONOMICALLY necessary for them to do so in this moment. #BlackLivesMatter #TaxTheRich #AbolishPolice… This is to the credit of organizers and those in the streets, NOT to the credit of said corporations, companies, conglomerates. If we fail to keep up the pressure, I promise you they will all slink back into their bejeweled holes. #BlackLivesMatter #TaxTheRich #TaxTheRich
Jun 2, 2020 4 tweets 4 min read
They will try to restore our faith. They will conduct a probe. They will spend more money on trainings and equipment. They will do outreach to communities of color. THIS IS WHAT THEY DO EVERY TIME AND WE ARE STILL BACK HERE. #BlackLivesMatter #DefundPolice… Any resources spent trying to restore our faith in the police system, prove it can be reformed, made neater and nicer, are a waste of money. #BlackLivesMatter #DefundPolice #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
May 30, 2020 6 tweets 6 min read
Brown people,

I have recent, painful memories of non-Black POC not showing up, not mourning, not joining in the fight when Black people are targets of state violence. I want to say I see that changing. #DefundThePolice #BlackAndBrownSolidarity #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd I see Brown people making statements of solidarity, defending Black freedom fighters, and calling in their own people without being asked, and it means so much to me. #DefundThePolice #BlackAndBrownSolidarity #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
May 29, 2020 5 tweets 3 min read
Black people leading the #MinneapolisUprising aren't just fighting for Black lives. The are resisting white nationalism, the militarized police state the empowers it, and the indifference of a political system that has sacrificed 100K mostly poor and working people to #COVID19 While fascist forces gather, tote guns to state buildings, empowered to do so by every branch of government, it is Black, Brown, immigrant, poor, working communities who are most threatened by this violence, and who are organizing to defend us all from it. #MinneapolisUprising
May 28, 2020 6 tweets 6 min read
A Black tgnc person named #TonyMcDade was killed by police in Tallahassee, FL on Wednesday. I think of #LayleenPolanco dying in her cell at Rikers Island the first week of #PrideMonth 2019.

#TransLiberation demands #Abolition… BLM organizers have long noted that while masses turn up in the wake of police murders of Black men, it's a struggle to get a small crowd to turn up for Black women. It's hard to get any attention at all when Black TGNC people are killed. #TonyMcDade #BlackTransLivesMatter
May 25, 2020 8 tweets 6 min read
This is a picture of my grandfather from his time in the army.

Days like #MemorialDay are fraught for me as an abolitionist from a police and military family. #DemilitarizeNow #AbolitionNow Image It's hard to honor the sacrifices (I do believe military service is a sacrifice, just not in the ways that are touted/glorified) of poor, working Black ppl in my family/community, while being clear they have suffered for those sacrifices, as have many around them. #MemorialDay