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A Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter from Project Disagree in Okinawa

A Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter 
from Project Disagree in Okinawa 

Project Disagree in Okinawa stands in solidarity with all protesters, Black and non-Black, who continue to fight against systemic racism across the U.S. and the globe. We also stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and The Movement to Defund the Police. As citizens, activists, and intellectuals who have worked for years against the ongoing U.S. militarization of Okinawa, we condemn all forms of militarized violence, whether it is committed by the police forces whose officers killed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and numerous others in the U.S. or it is perpetrated by the Japanese Police, the Japan Coast Guard, and U.S. military that have literally suffocated those who protest new U.S. military base constructions at Henoko and Takae in Okinawa. We too want to breathe in the world with no police brutality or military suppression.  

We know how imperialism in all of its historical variations has produced racial categories so that it can divide, hierarchize, and differentially rule over people both at home and abroad. When the police strangled the former bouncer who lost his job due to Covid-19 in Minneapolis, used force and profanity to suppress the wide-spread protest across American cities, or hurled racial expletives at local protesters and broke their ribs at construction sites for the U.S. military facilities in Okinawa, the line between life and death was drawn and redrawn over the space of racialization. This must be stopped. 

As the American police act like an occupying force on their “home” soil, we once again call for the abolition of racism that informs both domestic policing and foreign wars. We support all efforts that are now taking place to disinvest from state-sanctioned modes of violence and to reinvest in infrastructures that are essential for life: education, health care, and affordable housing. 

We also reiterate our belief in the critical power of words and images. While they are surely not enough, the words and images we examine and create nevertheless guide our grief and outrage, enabling us to expand the space of life against that of racism. 

In this historical moment of united confrontation, the past waves of anti-war solidarity between Black soldiers and people in Okinawa return to our present moment. They return from the period in the 1960s and early 70s, when Okinawa was occupied and directly ruled by the U.S. military apparatus in the midst of the Vietnam War. We, Project Disagree, share our voice with the people around the world who stand for the shared space of life.

June 15, 2020
75 yeas since the Battle of Okinawa.
50 years since the Koza rebellion.

*Added a few corrections on June 22, 2020.