Black August in Durham, North Carolina

Yesterday was the first day of August, and in Durham, a group of black women decided to hold a rally in support of Sandra Bland and other black women, both cis and trans, who have faced or died due to police brutality. It was such a powerful movement and it did bring awareness to the community, as well as provide support to prisoners who are currently locked up in Durham County Jail under terrible conditions.

Protests, in my opinion, aren’t so much as asking for what we want. Asking never really gets anything from those in power, as we have seen numerous instances in history. Protests are more of a visible way to bring the community together, to show our strength and to let others know that we aren’t going to sit and allow the injustices that plague us. Violent or nonviolent, these protests as a whole are a beautiful thing, as they let the community know that comfort does not breed justice for all.

Seeing all these beautiful black women come together was so powerful. It was so empowering to say the names of the black girls and black women who were wronged. It was a reminder that we are fighting for their legacy, and for their family, and the pain that they shouldn’t have had to experience.

I was a little camera shy in terms of documenting the protesting, and I also got a little involved, but it was so powerful to not only speak for the lives that were lost, but to also march to the jail and show the prisoners who are caught on lockdown there that we believe them, and that we are trying to get them out of these conditions.

But simply going to protests aren’t enough. Protests raise awareness, but they are only one of many acts we can do as a community to come together for those who are disadvantage. On Monday, August 3rd, there is a Call in Day in which we hope to have people to call or email into the officials to let them know that we believe the prisoners, despite them claiming that the prisoners’ accounts are false.

Here is some more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1698834280340303/

Out of all the amazing speakers in the protests, I was able to capture one poet’s words about being a black woman in America:

This was everything. To be a black woman in America, especially if you are part of the LGBTQQIA+ community is not an easy feat by far. Constantly, there is that fear of being judged by others outside your community, within your community. It’s reflected in the constant drive women have to always do better than their best so that maybe they will be recognized to the a tenth of the degree that they should be. It’s being the most educated demographic in America, yet the most unwanted.

Blackness is not simply an individual thing. It is about that community that was formed long before the slave trade, the unity of the African continent. It’s about looking after and helping out their own and others, even if sacrificing. Blackness is that sweetness of just being with others and not having to filter your thoughts or colonize them. It’s that feeling you get where you can consider a complete stranger your auntie or your cousin. It’s knowing you have that support.

We need to internalize the blackness that we live in everyday, and accept its radiance. At the protest, a gentleman bought his twin 5 month-old daughters in their stroller. He told me he had been active in Ferguson, in New York, In Cleveland, and many other places. He beamed at them the way only a father can and said, “I’m fighting for them.” Instantly, I felt that connection. These children of ours who are too young to understand will come to a point in time when they too have to face the full consequences of oppression. They too will be targets, regardless of how young and childlike they may be. They will grow up to wonder why the teacher never calls on them, or why they always get picked last in class for anything. These children shouldn’t have to experience the pains that we have faced. They deserve to know that they are loved, that they have a community of family that they have never met but will fight to the death for them. That is why we need to get more people involved. If not for our own selfish reasons, then for these wonderful young black lives being brought into the world.

We fight for them.

-JW

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