Police brutality and mass incarceration are antithetical to the core principles and values that TimeBanking is founded on. TimeBanking was popularized after the publication of No More Throw Away People by Edgar Cahn. Cahn writes about the way that the money economy regards certain groups of people- those that are unemployed, disabled, elders, children- as “throw away people” and says that in order to heal our society we have to create an economy that values everyone. We can add Black people and other people of color, immigrants, and “criminals” to that list of people considered by some to be disposable, and the system of incarceration, deportation, and police brutality to be the way that we separate them out from the rest of society.
Grounded in our TimeBanking principles (listed below), Unity in Our Community affirms that Black Lives Matter. We will continue our work along with many others to find ways beyond incarceration and policing to create true community safety and racial justice.
TimeBank Core Principles (and their relevance to racial justice and moving beyond our current justice system)
- People are Assets: When we lock people up in prisons or detention centers we devalue them. When we assume someone is dangerous or a criminal because of their skin color, the country they are from, how they talk, and how they dress- we devalue them.
- Redefining Work: If we truly value people’s contributions to our society, beyond their current market value, we would eliminate the poverty which drives much of what is considered “crime” by society. We also need to define work in a way where those that are peacemakers and peacekeepers in society are valued just as highly, if not more so, than those that perpetrate war and violence.
- Reciprocity: No one is a taker or a giver, we all have needs and we all have something to offer. Likewise people’s identities cannot be “cop,” “illegal,” or “criminal”- like giver and taker these labels are changeable and constructed by society.
- Social Network: We all need each other, we cannot wall ourselves. We are seeing this in the current public health crisis as well as in our criminal justice system. Since our fates are all bound up together anyway, rather than locking some people up or segregating ourselves from people and places that we consider dangerous, we need to work together to create systems that keep everyone safe and healthy.
- Respect: Every human being deserves respect. You cannot respect people in a society where assumptions are made that criminalize people based on their skin color, the country they are from, how they talk, and how they dress. It is also deeply disrespectful to use violence against people who are speaking and gathering in a nonviolent way. Black people deserve the respect that our society too often denies them.