What does it mean for Black Women, Black Girls and Black Femmes to respond to dying cities and the death of Black families in dying cities? What does it mean for Black Women, Black Girls and Black Femmes to call out from Detroit to the world to not only recognize the humanity of Black lives, but to challenge the world to respond with the full of their own humanity? We live in movement times. A time where we can clearly articulate all that is wrong in society and all that is wrong in the world. A time where the stark contrasts between which Black lives matter and which don’t, are becoming more and more prevalent within the Black community.
The world has been awakened to the inhumanity forced upon the predominately Black Women led households of Flint, Michigan because their water system was poisoned causing more than a dozen to die of diseases and tens of thousands to become ill and rising. Reminiscent of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the country was appalled at what they saw as indifference to Black suffering by what we can more freely call today, racism in government. We watched in disbelief as Black mothers cried for their children as they hoisted them up on rooftops while begging to be rescued. To many, much like the human spectacle on national television of dogs and water hoses being sicked on Black people during the Civil Rights Movement, and the horror of an open casket of Emmett Till’s disfigured face – the crises of Hurricane Katrina and the lead poisoning of Flint families was unfathomable, and drastic government responses were demanded by the public.
These were of course, legitimate public demands to governmental inflicted catastrophes. But, in other predominately Black dying cities like Detroit, where an equal number of Black women led households are suffering from a lack of clean and affordable water, where public education is being defunded, where families are more figuratively under water due to extreme poverty and the crime that follows, the country is much less sympathetic. There is no national or international outcry for the mother who simply can’t afford to pay her water bill or send her child(ren) to a school outside of their district, after the neighborhood school has been shut down.
In the United States, we are suffering from generations of capitalism ingrained into the fabric of our DNA. This very country was built on the genocide of Indigenous peoples, the kidnapping and slavery of Africans and the mass incarceration of generations to follow. Yet, many still see capitalism as our cure, while simultaneously acknowledging it as our disease. We have not as a country reconciled the relationship between capitalism and racism, because in America, we have yet to realize a new dream that moves us beyond the white picket fence, the “good job” and the traditional patriarchal family. We still quote only the dream of Dr. King that calls for Black people to own as much as their white neighbors and to have an equal place inside of capitalism.
But Dr. King, prior to his assassination was calling for so much more from the Black community. In A Time To Break the Silence, Dr. King emphasized:
I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies.
The bootstrap narrative, even for those who literally don’t own boots, has become the mantra for Black survival. This leaves too many of us out of the equation, across the globe. We are told in the Black community, by the Black community and the propaganda machine – to hustle for everything we have, even as gentrification is being funded and violently funneled into our communities. We are told in the Black community, by the Black community – that “closed mouths don’t get fed,” even as we watch young whites quietly move into the homes of our lifelong friends, relatives and neighbors who have recently been displaced. We are told in the Black community, by the Black community, that some Black lives don’t matter.
We cannot unite Black families and revive our dying cities while transgendered Black women are being murdered or swept into despair and committing suicide before 30 years old. We cannot unite Black families and revive our dying cities while young Black people are pushed from public education and swept into incarceration. We cannot unite Black families and revive our dying cities while too many of our young people are falling victim to criminal behavior as a response to the violence inflicted upon them by indifference, displacement and cultural genocide. We cannot unite Black families and revive our dying cities until we can openly challenge the invisibilization of Black women who die at the other end of police brutality. We cannot unite Black families and revive our dying cities while rape culture, misogyny and its internalization permeates our daily existence, through various forms of media, music and social interactions.
As the experts of our circumstance, how do we respond to these phenomenon? What is our response to gentrification, police brutality, racism, rape culture and intra-racial violence? We believe that Detroit is at the cusp of a new epoch in civilization, one that recognizes that “we are the leaders we’ve been looking for.”
So, it is in this vein that we are calling for 10,000 Black Women, Girls and Femmes to converge with us on the streets of Detroit on July 22, 2017!
In recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion and the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s challenge for a radical revolution of values, we invite Black Women, Girls and Femmes to come together to co-create a new vision for Detroit and the world!
For more info email: 10KBlackWomenGirlsFemmes@gmail.com