On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, the Sacramento Activist School will be hosting a panel discussion on #BlackLivesMatter at Sol Collective. Regrettably, we, the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM), were not initially invited to this timely and much needed convening of local activists. An invitation was later extended less than a week before the event—clearly as an after thought. Housed within Incite Insight – a non-profit organization aimed at addressing anti-blackness, systemic racism, and empowering our community through education and action – Black Lives Matter Sacramento organizers have been strategizing, fighting for liberation, and seeking justice in the local area for over a year before becoming a recognized chapter within the national Black Lives Matter network. We were disappointed to not have been included in this discussion, moreover, we see this erasure, even if unintentional, as an attempt to silence us, co-opt a moment and distort the mission of the national Black Lives Matter network.
The Sacramento Activist School and other groups (We’re talking about you, Sierra Health Foundation), who employ the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and name as a means to begin vital discussions within their respective communities, are taking the first steps to educate folks. However, by blatantly excluding the nationally-recognized Sacramento chapter of the Black Lives Matter network, this event has done a disservice to the broader community by not including representatives from a known local affiliate or anyone from the national Black Lives Matter network to engage in dialogue and empower Sacramentans.
(Photo From the Sacramento Bee)
Therefore, let us be clear here – Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. The Black Lives Matter network affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, Black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement!
(Photo From the Sacramento Bee)
BLM Sacramento boldly challenges state-sanctioned violence in this city and county every day, whether that comes in the form of rising rents and homelessness, low wages and poverty, mass incarceration or a police officer’s bullet. Our chapter stands against the displacement of people of color, the poor, and other oppressed folks in the city of Sacramento by politicians and business owners who prioritize profit over the basic rights, health and dignity of residents. We see the gentrifying of Downtown/Midtown. We see the gentrifying of Seavey Circle. We see the gentrifying of Oak Park. And it is endemic of a system that by design wants to control people – in particular ones of color – rob us of our little resources, shuttle our black and brown bodies into new-age chattel slavery in prisons and immigration detention centers, and finally kill us to break our collective spirits. But, our spirit will not be broken.
(Naomi Ludd, left, and Lala Abril, right, mother and girlfriend of Adriene Ludd,who was killed by the Sacramento County Sheriffs. Photo From the Sacramento Bee)
Today, our chapter is focused on the case of Adriene Ludd, who was gunned down by Sacramento County Sheriffs on October 22, 2015— The National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, nonetheless. Under the negligent watch of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Sheriff Scott Jones and his colleagues have used every opportunity to hide all evidence from the public and obscure the chain of events that led to Adriene’s death. Our attention is also on the Sacramento Police, who may appear to do all the right things to appease the public, but, by our measure, have intentionally neutered any mechanism that holds them accountable. It is clear Sacramento area law enforcement care more about protecting the interests of local “peace officers” instead of the communities facing disproportionate policing. BLM Sacramento is committed to holding ALL city and county law enforcement, as well as appointed and elected officials, to be accountable and transparent to the marginalized residents they are supposed to be serving.
(Photo From the Sacramento Observer)
BLM Sacramento will continue to fight for Black folks – whether they be African, Caribbean, African American, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Asian, etc. – who are enduring state-sanctioned violence in the form of the denial of basic human rights, police brutality, and discriminatory policies that unfairly target communities of color. However, what we will NOT fight for are:
1. Causes or issues meant to exclude people of color across the gender spectrum.
2. Causes or issues rooted in white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist principles.
3. The appropriation of the name "Black Lives Matter" by other organizations as a last-ditch effort to garner attention when other methods have failed.
We are aware that we do not own the fight for Black liberation. With this statement, we seek not to isolate ourselves from other organizations, but to define how our mission differs from others in Sacramento and let it be known that we are here, working, and open to engagement. We are willing to build with any organizations that claim their mission is to work for Black liberation and to fight the oppression of people of color. We also acknowledge the work of other organizations that have shown their support of Black Lives Matter principles, both with words and action. Thank you and solidarity to Sol Collective, ANSWER Sacramento, Voices of Youth, the Sacramento Area Black Caucus, and many others.
If you would like to learn about our mission, our goals, pertinent issues, and any updates, there are a number of online resources at your disposal. Please visit our blog on inciteaction.com, our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts @BLMSacramento. #WeEverywhere #LetsGetFree #JoinTheMovement