Toward Community-Led Accountability

 

Over the course of the last few years we have all collectively watched lynchings in the palms of our hands. We have seen bodies drop to the ground, children shot without warning, guns fired into chests without need, dead boys being cuffed and tormented --- every last moment of life dehumanized from the person they were or were to become. What we never see is transparency or accountability, let alone justice. We watch the violence on Black, Brown, and Indigenous bodies by law enforcement shocked as if we just can’t fathom it. A few days ago, I myself, was saying, I can’t believe Baltimore shot a 5-year-old baby, but I don’t know why there is any disbelief, because last year I was saying I can’t believe how they murdered Freddie Gray. We need to stop pretending that any of this is new or shocking. We need to accept that something is horrifically wrong with our increasingly militaristic law enforcement agencies across the country and currently these atrocities are happening with impunity. We need to divest from a system that was created to oppress people. As always, the narrative belongs to the living and the dead can only compel us to act, so act we must. During the days of Jim Crow and commonplace extra-judicial killings, not all privileged community members stood around the tree like the sociopaths that they were --- many more hid in their houses, too afraid to take a hard stand --- like the cowards that they were.

As Sacramentans we need to collectively open that front door and march out into the street. Because I may have mentioned Baltimore, but we have nothing less shameful here. This year, in the span of only three months, our police department has murdered two unhoused Black men experiencing mental health issues. Neither had a firearm; both should be alive today.

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Special Edition Blog: A Call to Action for Black August in Sacramento

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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?

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This Is Why We Infiltrate!

INFILTRATE!

Today begins the August campaign of "Infiltrate Oak Park."

What does that word mean to you? Is it powerful? Does it get your attention?

It should. What it should not do is create fear.

Black and Brown folks spend a lot of time being taken out of context...

On the street

On the job

In our skin

On television

Often we are misunderstood because it is easier for those in power to ignore that which makes us more than they can imagine. We are powerful and we have within us something they don't have and prefer not to understand. We make every effort to participate fully in our nation home, yet we must be on alert to be ready to defend our flesh. We do so to further our existence because it is difficult being brown in white spaces. We are choosy as to where we place our bodies because preserving our spirits and souls often takes precedence over educating those who do not wish to be educated

When you hear a person say "The struggle is real." Believe that, but.......

Don't question that.

If a person says their head hurts, is it your job to convince them otherwise? NO.

If a person says their wooden chair causes them pain, is it your job to suggest they find a softer chair? NO.

If we say we are not happy with the negative effects "urbanization" and gentrification have had on the lives of our people...Your job is to empathize with us and offer comfort through our pain. Do not chastise us for not "pulling up our bootstraps" or because we just could not "get over it." Please remain without judgement or "advice" geared toward stroking your own ego or soothing your privileged sensitivities to a problem that must eventually be addressed .

If we say the neighborhood association is ignoring the voices of the unheard, do you talk over us or explain why we are wrong?

NO. 

Your role in our battle is to offer empathy, not constructive criticism.

If this is a struggle for you, then know that we're not leaving.

Open heart. Open mind. Closed mouth.

This type of treatment is what causes people of color to steer clear of white spaces. We want to feel like we belong without being singled out as a novelty or something out of place. When we show up on the Wine Train, don't trip. We like to enjoy the same things you do. The color of our skin should not confuse you as to our presence. Where we belong is where we belong, and if that is right next to you at the next Neighborhood Association meeting, then so be it.

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BLM Sacramento Weekly Blog --- Shedding Our Skin of Collective Apathy and Waking Up to a Transformative New Day

Change always comes. In most things we notice it after the fact, often in a passive and fleeting glance back to where we forgot we had started from. But some change is brutal --- propelled not by trends and generational understandings --- but, instead, by upheavals in the very earth of our society. The last two weeks have forced our nation and our city painfully forward in the fight for Black liberation. Alton Sterling’s murder, may he rest in power, pulled a trigger in the movement for Black lives. We can’t un-watch his state sponsored execution. They can’t lie over and over again and hope the people will believe in a false narrative of justice forever. Sometimes the ground quakes and our roots poisoned by centuries of white supremacy are again exposed --- and, to be sure, this City of Trees has more than our fair share of poisoned roots.

On July 6th, I was in my car in the parking lot of Safeway on Alhambra when I clicked on Philando Castile’s last moments. How easily we have accepted watching public lynching passively in the palms of our hands. This was the moment when I understood how bloody mine had become. I was feeling energized by attending the Sacramento Community Police Commission’s public ad hoc committee on transparency and accountability. BLM Sacramento organized an event where we voiced a desire for transparency by the immediate release of all information, including video footage, of any officer involved shooting. We demanded our law enforcement agencies provide affected families with respectful treatment and timely notification. We insisted that our “community” police commission be mandated with oversight powers, so that real police accountability will arise from community-led policing. We talked about trust, and the absence of it, between LEOs and communities of color. We discussed how divestment in a racist policing system, coupled with an investment in community programs, would shift the violence in our city. We talked about Dazion and the very recent instances of police extrajudicial murder locally. We said his name. We uplifted his name. Afterwards we walked from City Hall chambers to the outside grounds bathed in twilight to hold a vigil for Alton. Dozens of Sacramento community members joined us in outrage. There was something buzzing in the ether. Something pulled off blinders, and open, angry-eyed Sacramentans joined in the fight for Black lives.

So, yeah, I felt like things were charged and I was grateful to be part of the change. Then I clicked on the Facebook Live video. If Alton’s assassination had pulled yet another trigger on the US’s 300-year-old racist police brutality crisis, then Philando, Diamond, and that precious baby girl’s nightmare turned the gun squarely on its citizens. Baton Rouge to Minneapolis, New York to Sacramento --- we felt the earth quake with the blood of the dead and the pain of the living --- the energy balance had shifted and we began peeling back the dirty layers of our bloody skin.

Sacramento, not often in touch with its radical activism, got real woke, real fast. Unprecedented numbers of people, some never having attended public displays of dissent, joined Black Lives Matter Sacramento in several community actions. Change --- once the momentum ignites --- is inevitable, and our city is collectively digging up our poisoned roots.

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Freedom Fighters: Making the Connections

Today.

I was wrecked by Orlando. This blog should have been written on Sunday, five days ago, but I didn't even have words back until today. I have been existing in a strange daze somewhere on the other side of sorrow and rage. Simply wrecked.
 
Go back two weeks.


Sitting in the sun blaring parking lot, waiting for BLM Sacramento’s press conference to call out the Elk Grove Unified School District for allowing Nyree Holmes, a young Black student to be escorted out of his own graduation ceremony by three law enforcement officers for the non-crime of proudly wearing an African Kente cloth, Tanya, BLM Sacramento founder, looks down, phone in hand, and says, "They convicted her, an all-white jury, for lynching. A Black woman?!?"

Go back 9 months.


Pasadena, home to a 14% Black population inundated with social and economic issues created through systemic anti-Black racism, and work space for Jasmine Abdullah, a young, bright, Black freedom fighter who invests her life in the love and uplifting of her community. On August 29th, after holding a peaceful rally to bring attention to the murder of 19-year-old, unarmed, Kendrec McDade, Jasmine observed a young woman across the street being chased by a local restauranteur for not paying her bill. After police arrived and several large officers attempted to take the petite 20-year-old woman into custody, Jasmine and fellow protesters try to protect her from a biased police department that has continually proven that young Black detainees don’t come out alive. Jasmine is shown in the video to be voicing concern for her friend and begging them to not hurt her. This is what Black love looks like. No longer willing to wait for the ensuing vigils, rallies, and demands set forth after state violence has already occurred, Jasmine literally and figuratively reaches out her arms to her sister and attempts to take her home. Two days later, Jasmine is arrested for felony lynching amongst a host of other convoluted charges.

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Demands for City Council Regarding SacPD's Murder of Dazion Flenaugh

On April 8th Sacramento Police came into contact with Dazion Flenaugh. One Sacramento police officer made extremely careless choices, and created an unnecessary situation that lead to Dazions death.

Not once has this city council discussed the killing of this unarmed Black man.
Not once has his name been on the agenda.
Not once has the city ensured that his families voice was heard or that this incident was treated like Dazions life mattered..

 

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I Know Black Lives Matter, But What Can I Do? -- Black Lives Matter Sacramento Weekly Blog Update

  

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On Saturday June 4, Black Lives Matter Sacramento hosted a vigil for Dazion "Jerome" Flenaugh, murdered by Sacramento City Police Department on April 8, 2016. Another life gone with no answers.

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What You Need to Know about Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones -- Black Lives Matter Sacramento Weekly Blog Update

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***This post includes updates from BLM Sacramento blogging crew, and ends with a fascinating profile of Scott Jones by guest blogger, Monica Chan.***

UPCOMING EVENTS: 

SATURDAY June 4 at 7:00pm: Join us in support of Dazion "Jerome" Flenaugh's family at our Candlelight Vigil. We aren't hearing his name in the news and we aren't getting answers from the Sacramento City Police Department about the circumstances surrounding his murder by officers. Come stand with us and show his family that we know Jerome's life mattered. 

TODAY: Read about our press conference today, June 1 at the Elk Grove School District. We addressed the African American student who was removed by sheriff's deputies from his high school graduation for wearing kente cloth.  We issued demands to the district to develop non-violent ways of resolving dress code policy, and more culturally competent school policy development. 

Read below for the latest on what Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is up to now. 

 

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Celebrating Malcolm X and Reflecting on 21st Century White Allyship in the Movement for Black Liberation -- Black Lives Matter Sacramento Weekly Blog Update

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In this post... 

  • Upcoming Events to Stay tuned for
  • See pics from Malcolm X BBQ- So many folks came out to celebrate Malcolm X and his unwavering commitment to black liberation.  
  • Reflections on White Allyship, an issue that Malcolm X confronted, and on which he held evolving views, after his Hajj to Mecca. 

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