Alicia Garza delivered these remarks on June 4, 2019 at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn as part of a Night with The Nation.
Thanks so much for having me tonight.
As we sit here tonight, the country is at the apex of a crisis.
In the last month, there have been no fewer than seven black trans women who have been murdered. Nearly all of the protections that were passed for transgender people over the last eight years have been rolled back in the two short and long years that Trump has been president.
Just a few short weeks ago, restrictions on abortions were passed in several states throughout the Midwest and the South. The crisis of family separation has only increased, with babies and children turning up dead in detention camps, while fundraisers to extend the crisis through a border wall reach millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, this administration is not just ridiculous, they are not only murderous, they are hell-bent on changing the rules. We are gearing up for another election in 2020, and perhaps some of us are close to breathing a sigh of relief that perhaps if we could just inform people of the facts, the outcomes will be different in 2020.
But that, my friends, is not only naive but it is in fact a pipe dream. Nothing at all will change if we are not paying attention to ensuring that we can participate and fighting to expand participation in the decisions that impact our lives. If we are not paying attention, we can be assured that Trump will be president not just for another four years but for the foreseeable future.
And that is not something that I am willing to stand for.
There is resistance happening, and yet this moment calls for us to meet ourselves in the future, and bring that future to bear today. The Nation is a critical piece of the work that must be done. It is in The Nation that we can begin to understand what is happening in our country, the role that our country plays in changing the rules for other countries, and the inspiration we need on a daily basis to not only keep going—but to dare to dream bigger and bigger.
In an era where corporate media is being dubbed as fake news, aligned with a fascist strategy to control the flows of information, independent media becomes even more important. It is independent media that is focused on what matters to our communities and to the country. It is independent media that reflects back to us the hope that we have for turning the country around and putting it on a different path, and it is independent media that clarifies who the real terrorists are and what is at stake if they are allowed to continue to lead.
If we want to win in 2020, we have work to do. Work that looks like taking back control of our democracy, our communities, and our bodies. Work that looks like taking power and transforming power. Work that calls us all to look in the mirror and examine what is looking back at us, so that we may become the very best versions of ourselves.
And for me, the best version of ourselves will involve not only doing our power poses in the mirror but setting ourselves up to win and win big.
That looks like creating the conditions for our resilience, and that means building infrastructure to make victory possible.
It’s why Cecile Richards, Ai-jen Poo, and I launched the Supermajority this year, calling into being that it will be women, cisgender and trans, that will shape what happens in 2020 and beyond. We are the majority of volunteers, we are the majority of people turning out to the polls, we are the majority of political donors, and we deserve to be a constituency of national importance—not just a special interest group.
It’s why I launched the Black Futures Lab last year and completed the Black Census Project—the largest survey of black communities in America conducted in more than 154 years, so that finally we can move beyond fried-chicken photo ops to get a real sense of what black communities are experiencing in the economy, in our democracy, and in our society, and so that we can put candidates and their campaigns on notice about what we expect to be done about the challenges our communities are facing.
It is efforts like these that aim to disrupt a pattern of just hoping things will be different—we help to bring the change we want to see, the future we want to hold, into the present day.
This is why The Nation is so important. It is a shell that we can lift up to our ears and hear the waves of power, millions and millions of people participating and sharing their dreams for what this country can and should look like. It is a megaphone not just for being right, not just for hoping that facts can change the country, but it is a megaphone for the strategies we are waging to become a more human society. Tonight you are supporting the effort to bring the future we all deserve into the present.