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Black Professional Organizations: Building Solutions For The People...

by Kayla McCullough

Since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014, issues of race have moved to the forefront of society. And with the series of police killings that have catalyzed new activism, people have started to give more attention to the struggles of African Americans through black-led community organizations. On June 5, the Right to City Alliance held a live event on zoom where many member organizations spoke about nationwide powerful Black-led organizing during COVID-19. The ceremony was kicked off by the remembrance of those who have passed from the racism that has scoured the country for years. “Right to the City stands in solidarity and unity with the movement for Black lives and their call for immediate action in defense of Black Lives.” Amid this pandemic, which has already impacted Back communities disproportionately, African Americans should not also be living in fear. People around the globe should not fear jogging in their neighborhoods or even sitting in the “safety” of their homes. The people of this country, and the world, are saying enough is enough, right now is an opportunity for people across the country to mobilize in solidarity with activists and organizers in hopes to bring better days. “At this moment we should not be working towards a return to the status quo - to what life was like pre-pandemic. Because that means the return to one Black person being murdered every 28 hours and a Black Trans woman having a life expectancy of only 35 years old. The world we are fighting for is a world free where Black people and all marginalized people can live their lives in healthy, safe, and stable communities. FREE of harassment. FREE of exploitation.” This powerful speech was given by a member of the Right to the City, and it spoke on the rights we were given at birth, “We have a right to our cities, our homes and our lives.”

The grief, anger, and action that has taken place in this short period are not coming simply from outside activists, but also parents, neighbors, children, organizers and community leaders that are all demanding the same thing – a better future for Black people, which leads to a better future for us all. Here are the Black-led organizations that are doing everything in their power to help Black communities everywhere.

List of African American Professional Associations:

Miami Workers Center organization leaders Ms. Cookie and Andrian Madriz talked about the realities in Florida. Madriz opened saying, “Right now, there are many different campaigns that the Miami Workers Center is undertaking. We are currently focusing on gender justice issues, housing issues, domestic worker issues, and immigration issues. Today we are dealing with the confluence of the epidemic as well as the affordable housing crises, how those two mixes together and now the threat of state violence.” The Miami Workers Center works with the state of Florida to achieve rent control, land trust, affordable housing, and many other things. They have been organizing campaigns for years due to the unjust reality of eviction that has been happening in Florida.

The KHEPRW Organization in Indiana, Indianapolis. KHEPRW is a 14-year organization that was started to help the youth stay out of trouble. Recently this organization has created opportunities for young black children to stay engaged, take care of their community, become self-reliant and learn how to build relationships to create change within their community instead of depending on the state. The black community in Indiana make up the majority of blue-collar workers and the low-income earning status, both of which have contributed to an increase of infected cases regarding COVID-19. KHEPRW represents rebirth and transformation. They strive to provide an environment for individuals to bring forth best within themselves.

The Cooperation Jackson Organization in Mississippi. Their long term vision is to develop a cooperative network based in Jackson, Mississippi that will consist of four interconnected and interdependent institutions: a federation of local worker cooperatives, a cooperative incubator, a cooperative education, and training center (the Kuwasi Balagoon Center for Economic Democracy and Development), and a cooperative bank or financial institution. Cooperation Jackson’s basic theory of change is centered on the position that organizing and empowering the structurally under and unemployed sectors of the working class, particularly from Black and Latino communities, to build worker organized and owned cooperatives will be a catalyst for the democratization of our economy and society overall. Cooperation Jackson is the realization of a Just Transition vision decades in the making. Its roots lay deep within the struggle for democratic rights, economic justice, self-determination, particularly for people of African descent in the Deep South, and dignity for all workers.

The organizations that were apart of the meeting were represented by powerful leaders who spoke on and honored the outrage, anger, and the difficulties that the black communities are experiencing. They all emphasized that the reality in today’s world is the continuation of taking from African American’s and in return leaving them with death. If you are someone who is wanting to help out in your state and donate to a cause that is trying to uplift black people everywhere, head on over to one of these inspiring organizations.

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