“I lost a whole continent. A whole continent from my memory. Unlike all other hyphenated Americans, my hyphen is made of blood, feces and bone. When Africa says hello, my mouth is a heartbreak. Because I have nothing in my tongue to answer her. I do not know how to say hello to my mother. - African American II
We are the children's children of stolen children and all we want is to be seen and respected, thus this fight is still a fight for LIBERATION. Over the past few weeks Black Lives Matter Sacramento’s BLOG team has laced this community with verbal imagery that has evoked tears and pride......because in this life time we want change, especially for those with the biggest targets on their backs (queer and trans Blacks), and in the face of anti-Blackness--hear us, don't critique us. In honor of Black History month, let’s rewind some events that highlight the impact of this journey towards said LIBERATION……….
- With the support of the California Endowment.....the GIFT in the form of a mural on the wall of the Guild Theater became a billboard and the images of 7 black men murdered at the hands of local law enforcement agencies went up on Broadway.
- Know Your Rights training – Part 2 took place and afforded attendees insight and knowledge with respect to understanding the history of policing and being prepared to come out of police encounters alive.
- Alternatives to Police breakout groups like CopWatch and Emergency Black Sac are part of the foundation for change, and we are building momentum for said change.
- We showed up at Solfire Yoga to tell them and the community that “cultural appropriation (misappropriation)” is a no-no. You can like rap music, but you cannot profit off of it without honoring it's humble beginnings.
- Freedom Day was a spin off of our summer Freedom School program, and we dug deep into education, with respects to the systematic and historic failures that our children have faced under the guise of integration and equal doctrine. Each speaker spoke to the nuances of the lack of equity, with the hopes of empowering and advocating for black children to grow into their own natural genius.
- As a group we ventured into the world of Wakanda…..pump the breaks COLONIZERS, we are beyond capable of bringing clarity to the disparities we’ve experienced. YOU CANNOT TELL US HOW WE FEEL, but what you can do is embody what it truly means to listen, learn and shift the cultural dichotomy of RACISM and white supremacy.
- Who pulls documentary footage of Radical Black leaders past and present in order to present a documentary style movie event for the community…..yes, we did that. But just like this BLOG……if we don’t say it, it won’t get said. Constantly inviting the community to rise up with full hearts is our mission. This is the essence of BLACK JOY and HEALING.
- One year later, we hold up Lorenzo Cruz after he was murder by the Rocklin Police Department. The questions are mounting and when it all shakes out those who live on Bradford Place are going to have to reckon with their silence and complicity…..yes, your hands are just as bloody as the police who are covering up the lies surrounding his death.
- On top of attending city council meetings, school board meetings, speaking with the media, brainstorming with other agencies and organizations, planning sessions for events, supporting the community through grief and taking care of chapter business.....this is the life of activists and organizers and what BLM Sacramento is all about.
Think about that for a second. The planning that goes into being present during and after the storm of state sanctioned violence, feeling the pulse of communities under siege and gentrification, putting a microphone to the voices of our youth who are experiencing educational inequality and the school-to-prison pipeline, and crafting policy that is reflective of LIBERATION......all while breathing in the essence of WAKANDA. That's the effect we embrace because it is inspiring AF. We’ve always known our genius and the movie Black Panther just confirmed it to the 100th degree, that we are truly enough. We a vibranium valuable, $700 million plus factors is who we are.
I am reminded of Toni Morrison’s interview with Charlie Rose, as we bore witness to the “White Gaze” and how we have been forced to swallow the fact that there are two worlds in America, on top of the fact the privileged have tried to divide us and erase the most valuable contributions we've made to this country and the world for that matter. The effort to erase us also causes internal community strife in the form of colorism, economic and educational divides, as well as religious doctrine telling us to turn the other cheek. Wakanda spoke the truth of our ancestors, who wanted their stolen children back, and even in their powerlessness no one can deny the eternal connection.
This social justice thing, like Wakanda was and is about what women bring to the table in the form of action.....no GLORY necessary. Because today, like during movements of the past women show up and show out……so I pay homage to the likes of Shirley Chisom, Angela Davis, Septima Clark, Mary Church Terrell, Dorothy Height, Ida B. Wells, and Audre Lourd. They made sure black women like myself can walk the paths they blazed.
We are forced to reflect on Armani Lee, Igzabihair Yamakosi and James Nelson because of what they’ve suffered at the hands of state sanctioned violence and a criminal justice system that sees us all as guilty before anything else. Their journeys remind me of Nelson Mandela and former Black Panther party member Albert Woodfox....who both sat in solitary confinement for decades. We have to demand the system stop abusing us and burying our souls in jail cells. Not only is the set up real, but retribution while incarcerated is life altering. This is why so many parts of Black Panther make so much damn sense. However, the COLONIZER cannot scare us anymore and if they speak out of turn, in the words of M’Baku, "WOOF WOOF WOOF WOOF" is all the clap back needed to get the point across to stay in your place as Black folks figure this shit out.
For example, when it comes to the educating of our kids, we know this for sure:
- To sustain our culture in systems, outside of our community requires affirming and amplifying who we are. Ethnic Studies will increase student performance, create a greater sense of self and expand our appreciations for different cultures. -Professor Dale Allender
- Parent involvement improves student achievement, the school house should be an extension of our homes, thus instead of letting the education system wage war on Black parents, we have to show up to express our needs, advocate for our children’s needs and make sure the things that support our needs get funded. - Ms. Patricia Averette
- Know that all ideas come from the ground and not the sky, it requires an all boots on the ground mentality. - Carl Pinkston
- We can no longer subscribe to the “white normative.” Embracing ebonics is not dumbing down, it is a connection to Africa and it’s linguistic nuances that make tribal communication so beautiful……likewise so are the kinte cloth that identifies tribes, the dances and foods that make us unique. - Dr. H. Samy Alim
If we don’t do these things the Wakanda effect will be pointless…..all of those very dark skinned faces casted in Black Panther will have been for nothing. The deaths of King and Malcolm would have been for nothing. The sacrificial lambs/lives of Adriene, Dazion, Joseph, Desmond, Lorenzo, Ryan and Mikel would be in vein. Fighting for community oversight would be pointless; as well making sure students like Nyree Holmes and Rachel Francois (Elk Grove Unified School District) have a voice and a right to feel safe cannot be for nothing. We cannot wait for our kids to come of age to challenge the system, this work is ripe and ready TODAY!!! Because RACISM, white supremacy and the school-to-prison pipeline is prevalent TODAY.
One might ask how Freedom Day, Wakanda and the violence against the lives of Blacks (men in particular) stay intertwined? Truth be told if colonization had not bastardized what it means to be of great African ancestry, we would have no need to gather and discuss educational inequity or the fact that colonization and slavery has been erased from the history books altogether. When our kids don't see adults like themselves on school campuses or in their text books this creates a disconnect from many lessons. If the lie continues to be perpetuated that Black kids can't learn at high levels, we have failed them along with the system. Think about the likes of Armani Lee, Igzabihair Yamakosi and James Nelson all of whom find themselves fighting for their sanctity while incarcerated. Had our education system fed them with images like Wakanda and more Black freedom fighters, Black inventors, Black scientists, Black engineers and Black artist, etc, the inclination to perform better in school is an unknown possibility. Because school doesn't and hasn't up to this point. Let's take that a step further, if their educations had addressed and worked to heal their mental health issues, they'd be better prepared to cope with and fight the tendency to under-perform and under-achieve. We cannot have Killmonger's outlook on life......because the story doesn't end here or today. As we continue this work, we decide, we shape, we define how the story unfolds.
They are why we stay active in these streets planning to support and uplift.....UP & COMING EVENTS:
March 8 - Fill the Courtroom for Armani
March 10 - Emergency Black Sacramento Open Meeting
March 15 - The Anti-Sammies
May 26 - CopWatch Orientation