Black August has long been a time dedicated to reflection on black liberation and the resistance work that is needed to make liberation a reality. Black August offers long term organizers the opportunity to celebrate, evaluate, and re-dedicate; and offers others an opportunity to initiate their commitment to liberation work.
Ever since the #BlackLivesMatter mobilization campaign was launched in 2013 by three black queer women who had each been long-time organizers, the vocabulary, activity, and spirit of black liberation and resistance have increasingly broken through to the mainstream.
How does Sacramento fit into this legacy of resistance and liberation work, a legacy that stretches back across centuries of American history? And most importantly: how can you join in?
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement website outlined a brief history of Black August, which is itself an outline of 400 years of the fight for black liberation.
From the website:
“A sampling of this month of “righteous rebellion” and “racist repression” includes:
The first Afrikans were brought to Jamestown as slaves in August of 1619.
Gabriel Prosser’s slave rebellion occurred on August 30th, 1800.
The “Prophet” Nat Turner planned and executed a slave rebellion that commenced on August 21, 1831.
In 1843, Henry Highland Garnett called a general slave strike on August 22.
The Underground Railroad was started on August 2, 1850.
The March on Washington occurred in August of 1963
The Watts rebellions were in August of 1965.
On August 18, 1971 the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA) was raided by Mississippi police and FBI agents.
On August 8, 1978 Philadelphia police initiated a shootout against MOVE members
Read more about Black August here.
Black Lives Matter Sacramento is using this month of deeper reflection on and broader engagement with black liberation and resistance to give more Sacramentans the opportunity to engage in resistance work. It’s not all rallies and blocked transportation arteries. Even though rallies and blocked transportation arteries are an essential part of the work- it is these high profile events that make the pain and suffering of black people- so often ignored- visible.
But there are many modes of doing this liberation work. This is what Black August 2016 in Sacramento looks like:
August 4: #InfiltrateOakPark Event 1: Oak Park Neighborhood Association (OPNA) Meeting *(Read what happened below)
August 8: Sacramento Community Commission on policing: Recommendations **(Critical meeting! RSVP here and Read more below)
August 9: #InfiltrateOakPark Event 2: Come to McClatchy Park at 6pm to learn more! RSVP and get updates here.
August 21-31: A series of orientation meetings for new members! Emails will be sent to those who have filled out a membership application.
*At OPNA this past Thursday, Black Lives Matter Sacramento and several Oak Park residents joined the OPNA meeting. The goal was to engage more long time residents of Oak Park, often people of color who are threatened with displacement. This constant threat is due to un-conscientious development planning, which leaves these residents out of the conversation about what Oak Park’s future should look like.
At the recent OPNA meeting, the historical context of gentrification in Oak Park was discussed; and the residents were challenged to come out of their comfort zones to re-imagine how Oak Park could develop and improve WITHOUT pushing out lower income residents.
This meeting was a hopeful start to long term work to disrupt the status quo and build community that is inclusive of every resident.
**This coming Monday, please attend the Community Commission on policing. Black Lives Matter Sacramento has been attending these meetings, and increasingly, more and more Sacramento residents have been joining us and filling the room, with their bodies and their voices. Join us this coming Monday for the most important meeting yet- the Commission will be previewing the recommendations they plan to make to the Sacramento City Council on changes needed in the Sacramento City Police Department.
This night is our opportunity to give feedback to the Commission on what is missing from these recommendations.
Don’t miss this critical chance to influence change in policing in this city- especially since Sac PD has already murdered two black men in 2016. Both men were in the midst of mental health crises, and neither man had a gun, although police claim each man carried a knife.
It is unfathomable and unacceptable to people of conscience that Sacramento police officers are incapable of detaining people alive, who pose no real threat to anyone's life. Whatever failures are occurring in the Sacramento police department, Monday August 8 is a critical opportunity to demand real change.
Between the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, who gunned down Adrienne Ludd in October 2015, and the Sacramento City Police Department, three African American men have lost their lives at the hands of local law enforcement in just 9 months.
Join us this Black August and beyond, as we work to create real community safety, without police violence, in Sacramento.
Say their names... then say, NO MORE!