Monday, August 1, 2016

"We Seek to Intervene:" From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation Meeting 2

A look into what’s being talked about in the BLM to Black Liberation group as they prepare for the next meetup:

A reflection from Shira Cohen on our last session leads us in…

Thank you so much Keeanga for hosting and sharing about this amazing book last night. Apologies for slipping out early. Thought about this while leaving and wanted to share - One thing I've been thinking about is ownership of movements. We talked a lot about who wields decision making power in the movements for Black liberation, who "founds" movements and takes credit for victories and shifts, the role of traditional political party politics and moving or resisting spaces of liberation, and how schools and society take ownership or do not or absolves it/themselves of responsibility of being a part of the work of educating and talking about liberation rather than the work resting on individuals. This also seems to connect to who takes ownership and responsibility in organizing spaces as well particularly when taking on anti racist organizing practice. Thinking about alot!  Thank you all for sharing, Keeanga, Chris, Ismael for bringing the group together and the wisdom in the room and looking forward to the next one. 

This time we'll take a look at the beginning of "What's next?" as we came to it to close out our previous discussion. This includes Chapter 6 and Chapter 7. (sorry as that might be a really short reminder on chapter recommendations)  

Recently, Keeanga was featured on DemocracyNow where she offered this as a response to the political theatre of the DNC: 

"So, I guess I was thinking that the speech, along with the convention as a whole, in many ways has demonstrated this gap between the kind of symbolism and the reality that exists on the streets of Philadelphia and around the country. And so, I think that Hillary Clinton gave a speech that was full of platitudes and that, in some ways, I guess, was of symbolic value, but that really lacked any kind of specificity in terms of how we are going to address very serious crises in this country...I think that what we’ve learned from the Obama presidency is that we have to move from symbolism into actual policies and programs that are going to improve the lives of everyday, ordinary people."

This should be a timely cross-examination with the visionary call to action set forth today by The Movement for Black Lives' #Vision4BlackLives, which collaborated with many on-the-ground Black-led organizations to express policy demands to support and uplift Black lives: 

"We have created this platform to articulate and support the ambitions and work of Black people. We also seek to intervene in the current political climate and assert a clear vision, particularly for those who claim to be our allies, of the world we want them to help us create. We reject false solutions and believe we can achieve a complete transformation of the current systems, which place profit over people and make it impossible for many of us to breathe."

I feel like the visions of what we have planned for the future of our work in Philadelphia, in conversation with what Keeanga has written towards, what the Democratic Convention has failed to live up to, and what movement organizers have made concrete shall make tomorrow a really awesome dialogue. See you then!

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