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Racial and Gender Justice

The BLM Effect: Hashtags, History and Race

Janelle Monae and members of Wonderland at SF rally for victims of police violence.  © 2016 Eric K. Arnold

By Eric K. Arnold

Four days after the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest appeared on Saturday Night Live (SNL). Emcee Q-Tip announced, “Everybody stand up, one fist up in the air!” and proceeded to perform “We The People,” the most overtly-political song of their 26-year career. Tip peeled off some incendiary lines which referenced police brutality—“You be killing off good young brothers.” The song’s chorus took a direct stab at the bigotry aroused during the long Presidential campaign: “All you Black folks, you must go/ All you Mexicans, you must go.”

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Movement in Motion

Cat Brooks leads a press conference at Oakland Police Department headquarters.  © 2016 Eric K. Arnold

Interview with Cat Brooks by Eric K. Arnold

If you live in the Bay Area, it’s practically impossible to ignore Cat Brooks. She’s seemingly everywhere; on any given week, you might find her leading women’s marches against state-sponsored violence, holding press conferences at police headquarters for the Anti Police Terror Project (APTP), co-hosting KPFA-FM public affairs show “UpFront,” writing op/eds on how to correctly protest for the East Bay Express, speaking about the Black Panthers in a video installation at the Oakland Museum of California, pushing back against Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf on Facebook, or starring in a Lower Bottom Playaz stage production at theater venue The Flight Deck. And you thought your life was busy.

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Black Lives Matter: Opening a Second Front

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

The time has come—where it’s not happening already—to open up a “Second Front” in the direct action campaign to save and preserve Black lives in cities like Oakland, California.

The term “Black Lives Matter” was coined in the immediate aftermath of the July, 2013 acquittal of civilian George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. But even before the term was created, the movement that would later be identified with it had already opened up its “First Front” following the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer at a BART station in East Oakland. The name “Black Lives Matter” now refers—sometimes interchangeably—both to the chapter organizations set up by the three women who coined the phrase as well as to the larger movement of organizations and individuals who rally under its banner. In this article, I use the term to refer to that larger movement and not necessarily the chapter organization.

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The Living Matter: Honoring Those in Our Midst

Window art highlighting the BLM cofounders in Portland, Oregon. cc. 2015 Travis Wise

By Opal Palmer Adisa

From the beginning, and throughout time, Black women have been formidable shakers and shapers in movements that have pushed for equality and justice for Black people and, by extension, for other people in the US and globally. Black Lives Matter (BLM) co-founders Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi are sisters who are following the well-worn path of their foremothers (See sidebar).

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