This week, CulturalOrganizing.org will be following the lead of the Movement for Black Lives, which has called for a national week of action from June 1 to 5 to #DefendBlackLife and #DefundThePolice. I will use our Facebook and Twitter feeds to share their public calls to action and encourage artists and cultural organizers to join in with creative actions in their communities. As M4BL explains, “This is an opportunity to uplift and fight alongside those turning up in the streets and on the airwaves.”
M4BL is a Black-led movement-building organization that connects Black organizations around the country. It centers the leadership of Black people most marginalized by our current systems — “those who are trans and queer, women and femmes, currently and formerly incarcerated, immigrants, disabled, working class, and poor.” M4BL is abolitionist, anti-capitalist, and rooted in a transformative vision of systems that support the flourishing of Black lives and communities. In this moment, it is as important as ever that we — especially those of us who are not Black — take our lead from Black organizers and open our imaginations up to radical possibilities, not only incremental wins.
If you are looking to engage in online organizing this week, you can prepare by changing your social media profile pictures to the images below.
Today, Sunday, M4BL calls on people to “prepare for the week ahead by intentionally grounding ourselves and fortifying our spirits for the protracted struggle. Today we make space for collective mourning and resilience as we get in touch with what is required of us in this moment.”
What do you do to mourn? What do you do to ground yourself in your humanity, and the values you hold? To ground yourself in the humanity of all those whose lives have been callously taken from them by police, by prisons? Whatever it is — paint, dance, build an altar, say the names, sing a song, gather with family, mourn alone — do that now. If you feel comfortable sharing what you did with others, then you can do so below.
Take care of yourselves, and make safe decisions. COVID-19 is still killing, especially in communities of color. The urgency is real and if you are committed to this work we need you for the long haul.
Mural at top of post created by artists Xena Goldman, Greta McLain, and Cadex Herrera. Photo by Artyom Tonoyan used with permission.