Sometimes you don’t think you can do it. To be honest, most times you don’t think you can do it. When you put something on yourself so beneficial, it becomes a daunting task; rather more like an occupation. However, that’s what this first year of hosting Stand Up Sunday has been. It’s actually been a daunting occupation.
On August 16th, 2014, a group of us set out to join in support with others around the nation to assist our brothers and sisters in Ferguson, MO. This suburb of St. Louis was under state attack by the police. It was unerving and upsetting the way young black life was vilified during a time of grief. That grief turned into anger quickly as they weren’t even allowed the space to mourn. Although numerous places across the nation had been under state attack for various reason, it had been a while since we saw the public attacks on black communities from the state. It was time to #FIGHTBACK.
On our way home from the most community filled actions I have ever taken part of, it dawned on me: how could a population of people not under deress build the community we were just witnessed to? How would they accept building with one another while they still battle the system for opportunity of any kind? We wanted to plan a march from the deep West to 9th street but was bullied by city government. We decided to hold a rally at the Carl Braden Memorial Center: a space built for times like these. A place developed for budding leaders to have space in times of mobilization and to organize power against power.
From then on, the Stop the Violence rallies grew organically into what the organizations, who grew into a coalition to fight for Black Lives Matter’s in Louisville, in Stand Up Sunday; a play on words of the day of action called Moral Monday. Given that most organizations performed work during the week to combat racial inequality, reproductive justice, defense of Palestinian right to life, students against developing nations who host sweatshops and their counterparts, people who fight for the sustainability of West Louisville, and those that fight for everyone’s economic injustice against the very nation we call home through its political repression- we have held Sunday as that space and to educate, mobilize and organize around Black Lives Matter.
Since the beginning, members have felt comfortable in the space to question the state, to advocate for various issues that have arisen within the city, moved for regional and national solidarity. We have busted arse making sure that our initial demands were heard and that they were put into policy change. We’ve invited victims of police abuse and state repression through our space with them, Turning Pain into Power, as they navigate a radical road to justice. We’ve demanded answers from the police and the city government when they imply more taxpayer monies to fund police instead of providing more funds to solving generational systemic issues. We dare not stop now.
Our black leaders are on their way to charting Louisville’s #BlackLivesMatter. We want to be successful in that because there is no turning back. Falsey in this fight for freedom is a one way street and their isn’t enough room to turn around. We are joined by millions across the globe in a fight for Black Liberation. Yea, there is no coincidence that the acronym for Black Lives Matter (BLM). We are in the next phase of the Black Liberation Movement. This one is stronger, smarter and more strategic than ever. We have learned from leaders such as Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Angela Davis, Kathleen Cleaver, Assata Shakur and many other strong female leaders who know that Black Liberation lies in freedom for all.
This past year wasn’t easy as coalition building never is but we have had some of the wildest rides. We have loved every minute of it and value every relationship found and those that we have lost. This process forages on. There is no easy road to see the end of white supremacy in this country as we know it. There is no easy road to obliterating systemic racism as it exists. We just hope that the rest of yaw join this ride in this next year officially under the movement.
IT IS OUR DUTY TO FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM
IT IS OUR DUTY TO WIN
WE MUST LOVE EACH OTHER AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER
WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT OUR CHAINS
Stand Up Sundays