1. The Root of a Movement
On April 20, Judge Dennis Porter dismissed charges against Chicago police officer Dante Servin in the killing of 22 year-old Rekia Boyd on the basis of technical differences between involuntary manslaughter and first degree murder. Since then, the Chicago chapter of Black Youth Project 100 has organized nationally and locally to ensure that Servin is fired without a pension from the Chicago Police Department. We have staged several direct actions and testified in front of the CPD Police Review Board every month to demand Servin’s termination. It is our duty as an organization with a black queer feminist lens to center on the lives of black women that are victims of state violence.
2. The Next Charleston
On July 18, Black Lives Matter–Charleston honored the most recent victims of White Supremacy by joining forces with the RBG Pan-African movement and others to meet the KKK face-to-face at a statehouse rally. This summer, we have resolved to become proactive in self-definition and self-defense by launching campaigns designed to build broad-based participation. We are promoting #BlackMindsMatter–Afrocentric Political Education by organizing a network of five neighborhood Liberation schools; establishing a culture of accountability and community oversight with our institutions of social welfare through #ProjectWeAreWatchingYou–Accountability, Transparency & Due Process; working to register 5,000 new voters, or #YourTimeIsUp–Political Mobilization; and innovating a cooperative marketing system for the local black economy, #BlackBusinessMatters–Economic Development.
3. The Presidential Challenge
On July 18, Black Lives Matter protesters shut down the Presidential Town Hall at Netroots Nation, a progressive conference held this year in Phoenix, Arizona. With Arizona organizer Tia Oso and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors taking to the stage, black women organizers asked Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders to address police brutality and systemic racism—in particular, the murder of black women like Sandra Bland, who allegedly committed suicide after being arrested by Texas police. They also highlighted the lack of emphasis on black organizing and issues at the conference, which was focused on immigration but had no discussion of the organizing and experiences of black immigrants. Other organizers spoke offstage, invoking #IfIDieInPoliceCustody and the liberation of black trans women. After the event, both candidates used the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, expressing concern over our issues.