When the work is constant, you look up and see 3 year flash before your eyes and wonder where did the time go and how on this green earth could so many Black and unarmed, or Black and suffering mental illness or just Black have been taken from their families and this community? That’s a good question. The reality is, in the 3 years Black Live Matter Sacramento has been a chapter there isn’t a shortage of fights and people stolen at the hands of state-sanctioned violence by law enforcement or otherwise.
Before October of 2015, InciteInsight had been making noise around the issue of state-sanctioned violence by law enforcement after the murder of Trayvon Martin. See, the truth of the matter is, it didn’t matter if Trayvon’s death wasn’t directly at the physical hands of law enforcement, because systematically the state sanctions the death of Black people with little consequence regardless who causes the death. So, when white men like George Zimmerman murder and claim self-defense, the protection of his innocence is hardly ever questioned and often times perpetuates the very system that sees no value in protecting Black life.
But it all started with #AdrieneLudd, on October 22, 2015…..
On that particular day, the Sacramento Sheriff department was following and harassing Adriene for the umpteenth time in his life. It isn’t unusual for the sheriff to attempt to pull people like Ludd over for no other reason than driving while Black. The data doesn’t lie and DWB is a real and present danger for Black people all over this country. This systemic and pervasive problem is about CONTROLLING black bodies and nothing else. Capitalism is one of the essential foundation pieces to this society; and law enforcement has mastered methods in which to base said capitalism in the form of taxation, fines and intimidate towards Black folks via traffic stops. Traffic stops are just one example of said control, as it often times financially cripples a person into owing the city or state dollar amounts that will make the difference between being housed or unhoused, eating or going hungry, having transportation or not, being employed or unemployed. Traffic stops are an example of Black people being used as target practice, literally and figuratively. Hence the importance of Knowing Your Rights when encountering the police.
If only those in positions of power recognized TARGET PRACTICE as a big part of the problem.
(If only the system that oppresses could be ABOLISHED).
A simple traffic stop ended with one officer, in particular, Officer McIntyre discharging 33 bullets at Ludd, after driving his police vehicle upwards of 90mph through a Carmichael neighborhood in pursuit of Ludd. There are no words other than RECKLESS to describe the actions taken that day. There are no reasons for why in 2015 and beyond that law enforcement with all of their weaponry, tactics and training should have to kill anyone who has not fired upon them first. And in this case, Adriene did not fire any weapon and there is no proof that he attempted to do so. As a matter of FACT, witnesses say otherwise. Witnesses, who were working on a construction crew and were Spanish speaking immigrants, say they gave one story and then were pressured into giving another story in support of the false narrative put out by Sac Sheriff department, out of fear of deportation. So, on top of the excessive over-kill that resulted in Adriene’s death, our local Sheriff department continues to perpetuate the lack of value for Black lives, as it refuses to be accountable or transparent for their actions.
This lack of accountability and transparency is blatant with the Sacramento Sheriff department in particular, “It’s a privilege that we don’t have to release this type of information, this is an active investigation report,” Turnbull said. It will be 3 years in December since those reckless officers were exonerated for MURDERING Adriene. The report was completed in less than 2 months, and we know they can complete reports in timely manners when they want. As well, County Inspector General Rick Braziel worked on an independent review of the case, per request of Black Lives Matter Sacramento and eventually Sheriff Scott Jones.
So, in honor of Adriene Ludd, we respectfully memorialize his living and beautiful life perspective.
“People think the crooked tree is better or worse than the straight tree, what I say, God created you – in God’s perfect will. No man can straighten what God made crooked. Complainin’ or even trying to judge the next person and say what they is or what they ain’t is almost like you criticizin’ God…..for makin’ a tree that ain’t like you, when there’s so much to learn from trees that ain’t like you.”
Adriene was a poet, musician, and spiritual artist. He was often one with nature and talked to the trees because they give us life. The narrative surrounding his death was filled with more holes than answers and for that reason, we will continue to lift his name. Adriene.....like Dazion, Joseph, Patricia, Armani, Nandi, Lorenzo, Desmond, Ryan, Mikel, Zityrua, James, Stephon, Brandon, Danuel and Darell.....either didn't get the opportunity to fulfill the fruits of their talents or are forever reminded of the trauma as a direct result to excessive force. Their legacy will forever be etched in how we demand JUSTICE. They are the blueprint for critical analysis of law enforcement policy change, city ordinance change, state legislative adoption and the setting of federal precedent. We are the conduit for legitimacy, in bridging activism and accountability, as a means to actually be the voice of the people.
Today, this October 22, 2018, your BLM chapter held two events this weekend reminding us of the need for this work. On Saturday, October 20th we hosted our 1st Annual Black Love Gala Fundraiser and it will become an opportunity in this community for those who claim to care need to have spaces to smile, feel good about the connection to and visualize this work in a manner to justify their giving. And it’s fine, to be a financial ally. But at the end of the day, it is the hope of this chapter to get people to activate their activism in a way that transforms their ally-ship into accomplice-ship. On Sunday, October 21st we hosted our 3rd Annual Black Love Block Party (BLBP) with the purpose of inserting the beauty of Black energy and strength back into the highly gentrified Oak Park area of Sacramento. The block party is always a free family-friendly affair, as it is important for families to see each other and validate each other’s existence. This year’s block party included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, Open Mic, vendors, a poppin’ DJ, bounce house, arts and crafts, dance competition, free food and so much more.
As we continue this fight for Black LIBERATION and EQUITY there are lots of things people can do to activate their activism, be a moral witness and elevate our collective voice……
- Follow and regularly check the BLM Sacramento FB page for events, issues, and updates
- Accept the fact that BLACK folks need to lead this movement
- Prepare now to be a sponsor for next year’s Gala and BLBP
- Trust Black women
- Center and protect our Black Trans family
- Be a resource by donating money, needed items or time…..REGULARLY
- Share with other people who have money and/or resources
- Don’t give us extra work, help lift some of the load off of our shoulders
- Stop racist behavior in its tracks…..white folks and non-Black POC, get’cho folks
- Know where you stand in proximity to white privilege and the perpetuation of the white normative
- And if you are reading this share, share, share…..make it a habit
People keep saying this isn’t a moment, it’s a movement…..this is true and it requires SOLIDARITY and bridge building. Let your light as an individual or of your organization lift the work of organizations that speak for the most marginalized, vulnerable, unheard and under-represented.
Special thanks to our chapter founder, Tanya Faizon for bringing a vision to life that many of us only either dreamed of or participated in piecework around the idea of LIBERATION, JUSTICE, EQUITY and POWER, in creating what is now Black Lives Matter Sacramento. There have been several dozen folks over the past 3 years who have been instrumental in the foundation building and execution of what we have been able to accomplish as an organization, in such a short period of time. We will continue to stay ready, be intentional and push the envelope for change.
On the horizon, please tap in for actions associated with RECALLING Sheriff Scott Jones, as well calling for CHARTER changes at the city and county levels, so that we can be assured more accountability and transparency. Exercise your right and responsibility to VOTE. Look for more healing events and inserting of Black faces/voices into spaces that don’t readily welcome Black faces/voices. Believe us and validate our experiences of RACISM, especially with respects to local businesses or people who deliberately exclude us or co-opt our brilliance for profit. Be an accomplice in work at the District Attorney’s office and with building systems to Abolish and Rebuild systems that will end the end, harm Black people less.
Let us all look forward to the day that systems no longer prohibit the growth and success of Black folks; and instead, offer mechanisms to fight the oppression of inherent RACISM. We are more than 50 years removed from Dr. Martin Luther King’s death and it beyond time to live the dream he had for his children…..we, your Black Lives Matter chapter is here exactly to make sure the dream becomes a reality. In keeping the call of their names alive and remembering the unnecessary ways they were either stolen or abused, we work in SOLIDARITY with other organizations. Nationally, there are important efforts that will be going on October 22nd as we bring light to the National Day Against Police Terror.....this is a call to ACTION and we need all of Sacramento to show up Monday, October 22nd at 6pn on the corner of Florin Rd and 65th Street. Together we will support families and this community in connecting the dots to many of the ways law enforcement and systems oppress and target Black and Brown bodies on a daily bases. We will be answering this important question, "Police Terror is............?"
October 22 - O22: National Day Against Police Terror @ 6pm
November 10 - Abolish & Rebuild: Our Streets, Our System, for Our People @ 6pm