Next Step's First Steps

Ali T. Muhammad

Welcome to #ourrevolution

Racism is so American that when you protest it, people think you are protesting America. “All men are created equal” is what the Constitution says, although we would be better off if that phrase were to include humans or people - because to this day, there is little to no truth in those words. Today is Monday, July 27th, 2020, and it is a truth that Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and women have less equity in America. All humans are created equal. We are not all treated as equal, and that’s why we’re still marching and will continue marching until we get justice and equality for ALL. We are actively engaged in organizing our demands and mobilizing our communities to seek to have their voices heard. Protestants, formally known as Puritans, fled to and founded America, going to war with their families within their neighborhoods. BIPOC folks have fought in every American or pre-American war, for someone else’s cause. History doesn’t repeat, it rhymes, and as we look back in time, some blueprints have been left to uplift and create more change within this ever-adapting Civil Rights movement.

After attending more than 12 protests since May 31st, the night when an NYC police officer pushed me in the back for no reason, I’ve become involved with several local organizations working to dismantle racism and discrimination, working against police brutality, and those focused on BIPOC unity and empowerment. With my background in organizing and my ability to empathize keenly to other people’s experiences at these demonstrations, I felt the need to use my talents in a coordinating effort to get all of the Black Lives Matter groups around the region on the same page. There’s strength in Unity. We saw this with the passing of the Know Your Rights laws, and how they’ve been adopted by a few local municipalities already. Proposals become law, but how will the information be disseminated to the people who it impacts most? How will we mobilize within and around our neighborhoods to achieve what is just and fair, for what our ancestors have worked for? These are a couple of questions that local organizers have asked me. Another observation is the privilege we have, even to attend protests and organize around them. The opportunity some of us have to do the work - or take off a day of work to show up and take up space or to join a committee or board and attempt to exact change. A lot of the folks can not. Racism is a public health crisis.

This past Saturday was the first demonstration that I organized this year. In 2014 I held my first vigil and public protest to support the truth, Black Lives Matter. Putting six years' experience to the test, while collaborating with many local groups who sent representatives to march, protest, speak, and teach, we couldn’t have had more of a powerful moment for our movement! Beacon for Black Lives humbly and fiercely took our message down Main Street and to Pete and Toshi riverfront park. We had organizations that came from out of town to put their bodies on the line for our black bodies because of the violence that took place in Dutchess County last week. Club Draw Beacon and Integrate Beacon, thank you for volunteering your services for free and doing your best to assimilate into the community. It was a long hot day, it was a Saturday, during a global pandemic, and the beaches were open. To everyone that made signs, marched, kneeled, cried, screamed, listened, thought, spoke, and participated in our breakout sessions, we appreciate you. “Freedom is not a state. It is an act.” - John Lewis

32 views1 comment