Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Black Lives Matter co-creator talks about movement, protests
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond
2016-05-04

This article shared 4931 times since Wed May 4, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The dynamic, passionate ascendancy of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was felt in Chicago from the NFL Draft to the more intimate setting of the Chicago Humanities Festival April 30.

That afternoon, BLM co-creator and Special Programs Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) Alicia Garza took the stage at the Chicago Athletic Association for a beautifully candid discussion with New York Times reporter and columnist Jenna Wortham.

Less than a mile away from the Chicago Humanities Festival event, the relentless insurgence for justice which Garza helped to nurture was exemplified by a group of equally fierce women comprised of BLM members, the Black Youth Project (BYP100) the grassroots collective Assata's Daughters and F.L.Y.

They chained themselves across the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Jackson Boulevard and stood with defiant fists raised in a demand for accountability in the 2012 slaying of Rekia Boyd by Chicago Police Department officer Dante Servin and recent budget cuts designed to hamstring Chicago State University (CSU)

The women, in hardened disregard to the pouring rain and the deafening chorus of impatient horns as traffic came a standstill, remained in locked solidarity until the CPD arrested and forcibly removed them.

"Decision makers at the local and state levels have made it clear where their financial priorities lie," organizers said in a statement. "We continue to receive cuts to the institutions that keep Black women safe—institutions that continue to be replaced by terrorist cops who brutalize and murder Black women without penalty."

Before Garza and Wortham took their seats at the Humanities Fest, the capacity audience rose to their feet and chanted "Black Lives Matter."

"What we are seeing here in Chicago is an incredible direct action," Garza said in response to Wortham's question about the style of the movement. "That is a style to me around intersectionality and understanding that we don't live single-issue lives and therefore the work that we do in our communities cannot be siloed into single issues."

"There is definitely a relationship between the ways in which we fund law enforcement at the expense of other really pressing needs of our communities," she added "We deserve to have communities that are full and rich. There is a real focus on intersectionality, which is an 18-letter word just to say 'three-dimensional people'. So our movement must also be three-dimensional. We have continued to lift up the fact that culture change and policy change go hand-in-hand."

"Dante Servin murdered Rekia Boyd because he felt he could," read the statement from the Lake Shore Drive protesters. "Lawmakers refuse to give CSU the funding it needs because they feel there will be no repercussions."

"Our continued resistance serves as the penalty for destroying Black Lives," they asserted. "There will be no uninterrupted NFL Draft Town when Black women die without justice. There will be no silence while Mayor Emanuel and the City Council are cutting a $302,000 deal for an event worth $3.2 million at the same time that we cannot afford to fund Black education."

"We choose to #RememberRekia by demanding that Dante Servin be fired without a pension and instead that decision makers commit full, permanent funding to Chicago State University," the protesters concluded.

At the Humanities Fest, Garza took on the subject of social media.

"We get talked about a lot as a hashtag," she said before noting that the hashtag which precedes Black Lives Matter was unintentional. "It started as a love letter to Black people. Then my sister Patrisse put a hashtag in front of three words that then allowed other people to be a part of the conversation and to help shape it."

"One thing I think is really important for people to know is that I am a person who made a statement on social media in response to being outraged by the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin," Garza added. "That doesn't make me the keeper of the movement. It makes me somebody who is involved in this period of movement building, who had something to say that resonated with other people who then co-created this moment with me."

As the action on Lake Shore Drive was in progress, Twitter users created their own narrative around it.

"looks like the girl scouts came out to protest in their best @2chainz cosplay," one user said.

"Black women & femmes got in formation today and shut down #Chicago's #NFLDraft2016," wrote another.

"When we tell our stories on social media, the formats we have are often truncated," Garza acknowledged. "Because we are connected so immediately, it's great because we can follow things in real time, but it can also mean that we truncate the nuances of the stories of what's happening right now. Who is involved in [this movement]? Is it just Black Lives Matter or is it dozens and dozens of organizations and thousands and thousands of people all over the world? Retweeting and sharing is great for getting out information but it's not building power and that's ultimately what we're trying to do."

"Fierce Femmes of @StopChicago, @BYP_100, @BLMChi led this shutdown!" The tweets continued.

"For us, our narrative is not about one charismatic leader," Garza said. "Our narrative is very much rooted in the nuances of our community which means that it's important to us that queer Black women get our due. Black communities are not monoliths. We aim to break that narrative that being gay is a white thing, that we're all out in the streets to save the lives of cis Black men, that we only focus on police violence. We are so many things—education justice, economic justice, racial justice, gender justice; you name it, we're doing it."

Garza firmly addressed the tension and division that has occurred within any community fighting for change.

"Even though we say the same things, we don't all agree," she said. "Those divisions become more distinct the more visible this movement becomes. Something about living in a Capitalist society makes us yearn for visibility and recognition. Something about the way our celebrity culture works makes us yearn for access to 'celebrityness'. These are not new problems. The infrastructure that was built in the last period of civil rights was so intentionally decimated that it has left huge gaps. One of them has been political homes for Black people to learn how to be movement actors and social change agents. I would rather have a conflict about political vision verses who gets the mic and how many times you've been on T.V."

Garza had a message to those people who have co-opted Lives Matter with their own prefix.

"Stop doing that," she insisted to applause. "Black Lives Matter is our art. It's our creation. It's really painful to watch as the content of the baby that you birthed gets mutated and erased. What does it mean to take the Black out of Black Lives Matter and replace it with something else? That is a replication of colonialism and imperialism. You can't just come somewhere because you like it and say 'this is mine'. It doesn't work that way. How do we navigate how we understand anti-Blackness and the erasure of Black people from every landscape?"

"All Lives Matter is probably the most egregious," she continued. "Yeah, no! Black people have been saying 'All Lives Matter' for 400 years while chained and shackled and made to labor for free and build all kinds of wealth that we still don't have any access to. We live in a culture where all lives don't matter. If they did, we wouldn't have people living on the streets, we wouldn't have one million Black people behind bars [and] the average life expectancy of a Black trans woman wouldn't be 35-years-old."

Daylight faded and a Twitter video showed the last of the protesters being released from CPD custody.

As she concluded her Humanities Fest appearance, Garza reflected about the successes and failures of the movement and its objectives moving forward.

"One big failure has been that we still do not have a way to generate resources independent of corporate philanthropy," she said. "The models that philanthropy funds often mimic corporate models and that limits our political imagination because it is more about profit than it is about long-term sustainability, vision and innovation."

For Garza, the current election is emblematic of just how much organizing there is to be done.

"By and large there's a lot of people that are going to sit out in November because we're handed false choices," she said. "People are going to say in response, 'you're never going to get everything that you want.' What I'm going to say in response to that is 'that's not enough.' We are on the verge of a breakthrough but we're not there yet. We need to be able to use organizing to build our muscle so that we can build independent political power that is not led by corporate lobbyists, that has a bigger vision for what democracy can and should be."


This article shared 4931 times since Wed May 4, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney loses to Trump-endorsed candidate 2022-08-17
- Overnight on Aug. 16, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney—the vice-chair of the House Jan. 6 panel and one of former U.S. President Donald Trump's biggest Republican critics—lost her seat in Congress to a challenger backed by the ...


Gay News

WORLD Vietnam's pro-LGBTQ+ move, Grindr kidnappings, Taiwan event 2022-08-14
Video below - Vietnam took a major step forward in the recognition of LGBTQ+ rights with the country's Ministry of Health stating that being gay, bisexual or transgender is not a disease and urging medical practitioners to end discrimination ...


Gay News

NATIONAL: Conn. candidate, trans study, D.C. attacks, Palm Springs Pride 2022-08-14
- LGBTQ Victory Fund-endorsed candidate Erick Russell won the Democratic primary election for Connecticut state treasurer, according to an organizational press release. With this victory, he is on track to become the first out Black LGBTQ+ person ...


Gay News

Cook County officials discuss MPV timelines 2022-08-12
- Members of the Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee gathered Aug. 8 to hear details from local health officials on the monkeypox virus' (MPV's) impact on both suburban Cook County and Chicago, and their planned responses. ...


Gay News

Big Cities Health Coalition holds monkeypox virus briefing 2022-08-11
- Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) held a virtual monkeypox virus briefing Aug. 10 fthat ocused on local public health activities in Chicago. Speakers included BCHC Executive Director Chrissie Juliano and BCHC member and Chicago Department of ...


Gay News

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom names first queer woman to state supreme court 2022-08-11
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his intention to appoint Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kelli Evans to serve as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Justice Guerrero's elevation ...


Gay News

Another queer candidate is part of Chicago mayoral race 2022-08-10
- In addition to incumbent Lori Lightfoot as well as Ald. Raymond Lopez and media figure DJ Doran, there is a new LGBTQ+ candidate in the race for Chicago mayor. According to their website, J Saxon "is ...


Gay News

Chicago Ald. Sophia King enters mayoral race 2022-08-10
- Chicago Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward) has officially entered the Chicago mayoral race. "I love this city. We need a Chicago that's safer AND stronger," King says in the video, according to NBC Chicago. "Let's put ...


Gay News

Drag show finally takes place at UpRising Bakery and Cafe 2022-08-08
- After a series of events that encompassed everything from vandalism to meetings with village officials to a visit from Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, LGBTQ+-owned Lake in the Hills business UpRising Bakery and Cafe finally held its ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Okla. schools, Tenn. lawsuit, political items, Mich. library 2022-08-07
Video below - Oklahoma public schools have started requiring students from kindergarten to college to complete "biological sex affidavits" if they want to compete in school sports, in accordance with a state law that took effect earlier this year, ...


Gay News

WORLD Zelensky, French position, UK drag-queen shows, triathlons 2022-08-07
- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed he will ask Ukraine's government to look into legalizing same-sex marriage after the war with Russia ends, PinkNews reported. Ukraine's constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Last ...


Gay News

Uganda government forces LGBTQ+ group to shut down 2022-08-07
- An LGBTQI+-rights group in Uganda said the country's government forced it to shut down, according to The Washington Blade. Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), in a press release, said Uganda's National ...


Gay News

Pritzker visits UpRising Bakery and Cafe 2022-08-06
- On Aug. 5, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker met with Corrina Sac, owner of Lake in the Hills business UpRising Bakery and Café, as well as leaders from Equality Illinois and Woodstock Pride and Illinois state Rep. ...


Gay News

POLITICS Milwaukee gets RNC in '24; Chicago among DNC hopefuls 2022-08-06
- Milwaukee will host the 2024 Republican National Convention (RNC). According to Politico, RNC committee chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted, "I am excited to announce that the RNC has voted unanimously to select Milwaukee as the host city ...


Gay News

Indiana Gov. Holcomb signs bill banning most abortions 2022-08-06
- Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill that would ban most abortions—making it the first state to pass a restrictive law against the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.