As C2 Online begins Monday – the virtual version of C2 Montreal – the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Patrisse Cullors will open the conference under the theme of the event: resilience.
How would you describe the world today?
I believe we live in an age where we see the realities of white supremacy. We live in a time when for a very long time, especially in the United States, but also in Western countries all over the planet, there is this idea that racism no longer exists and that we only have to make some adjustments. to eliminate structural racism, that racist incidents only occur between two people rather than believing that racism is institutional.
I see that there is a global awakening, that people are recognizing the impact of white supremacy on their community and that they are standing up to denounce it and create change.
The premier of Quebec refuses to use the term
systemic to talk about racism. What do you think?
There is a problem when our elected officials are unable to face the challenges. As the premier of a province, if you can’t recognize the truth, you won’t get it right. This is part of what we have to do as a community: we have to be aware that racism exists, that it is everywhere black people live. Racism and white supremacy are not just a problem in the United States, they are a global phenomenon.
Black Lives Matter was born following the acquittal of George Zimmerman accused of killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in Florida in 2013 …
Alicia [Garza] went to Facebook to write a love note [aux personnes noires] in which she wroteBlack Lives Matter”,”text”:”Black Lives Matter”}}” lang=”fr”>Black Lives Matter. These words resonated with me. I added a sharp. I wanted the whole world to see these three words and use them. Opal Tometi, our third co-founder, helped us create the Black Lives Matter digital platform.
We wanted to be present both in the field and online. We spent the next year working with people all over the United States to develop what would become the Black Lives Matter Network Foundation, which is an organization that supports black leadership in Canada, the UK and the US. United. We will continue to support black people everywhere on the planet.
I was tired of black lives being sacrificed and wanted the white people to understand how appalling our condition is. I was tired that our generation was not seen as talented, able to help solve the problems associated with so many issues. Above all, I was tired of a country denying the existence of racism.
How did you come to move from a hashtag to a movement described as one of the most influential of the 21st century?
I think this generation was tired of feeling that no one was listening to them. The movement gave him a voice. I don’t think it’s just Alicia, Opal and I that made this movement happen. It took thousands of people all over the United States and around the world to stand up and say that black lives matter, that they say they want black socioeconomic conditions to improve, that they want more than just the survival of black people, but rather their fulfillment.
We have seen other movements like Occupy Wall Street lose importance, but after seven years, Black Lives Matter has not.
I believe it is because we are not giving up. We recognize the value of mobilizing black people around issues that affect us. Sadly, police brutality and terror still exist, so we are still there.
The movement’s mission is not only to counter police brutality against blacks.
We are fighting for the rights of black women, for black people who have children and who end up paying the price for death and morbidity. These high rates are a reality in the United States and in your country where black women have the highest rate of childbirth mortality. It is also a reality in the UK.
We are talking about issues of unemployment in black communities and the fact that blacks are unable to create wealth for generations to come. We have great conversations within the movement that do not just touch on police brutality and mass criminalization.
The issues put forward from one chapter to another are not always the same?
We attach great importance to a specific mobilization for each chapter [à chaque ville]. When George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed, murdered, when they were taken from us, it was the community that rose up to demonstrate against police violence and local governance.
Women are very involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, does it seem important for you to change the perception that society has of them?
I was very clear that when we started Black Lives Matter no one was going to put us aside. Black women have always been the architects of the civil rights movement not just in the United States, but around the world. I wasn’t going to allow them to push us aside like Rosa Parks or Ella Baker.
It is only now that we realize that Rosa Park was nuanced, that she was not just an old woman who decided not to give up her seat on the bus. She was a strategist and a yogi. Ella Barker was very critical of Martin Luther King, she really challenged the idea that it takes a charismatic leader to lead a cause, so we embrace a leadership style that is group-centered.
We need everything and everyone to change the world.
How influential has the Black Lives Matter movement been so far?
We’ve changed the culture, the way we talk about racism, not just in America, but all over the planet. In every city where Black Lives Matter is well established, we have changed the relationship between municipal governance and black leaders in addition to having a say in who among elected officials retains their seat. Many elected officials failed to stay in office because they were not on the right side of history.
What was the role of the Black Lives Matter movement during this US presidential election?
Black Lives Matter Network Foundation has set up a major campaign to encourage people to vote. We are leading efforts across the United States. There are groups that campaign to defend the right to vote and ensure that there are no obstacles preventing voters from voting. We are aware that electoral policies and electoral work are really very important to our movement. We see it as a more comprehensive strategy to empower black people at the local level.
We want to make sure that white supremacy is no longer allowed to be the face of the US government. We want our communities to heal [de leurs traumatismes liés au racisme], that they are whole and worthy.
How do you react to the fact that several elected officials and American government agencies have called you a terrorist organization?
We remind people who we are. I wrote a book. Alicia Garza has a book coming out, The power of purpose, Charlene Carruthers, former national director of the Black Youth Project 100 published a book, Unapologetic. Many of us have decided to tell our story and we are not going to let the right wing or the right wing media be the voice of our movement.
The theme of C2 Online is resilience. Some would say that getting up every day to face the world when you’re Black is an act of resilience.
I believe black people are among the most resilient people. There is a price to pay for this resilience in the face of gender oppression, racism and many other forms of oppression.
What do you want people to understand about the meaning of the Black Lives Matter tagline?
I believe people need to understand that we cannot say that we live in a country where everyone’s life matters until black lives matter. We cannot continue to live in a country where we deny black people the right to flourish and the right to life. We cannot live in a country that denies racism exists. It’s our job to be aware of the moment we are living.
A contract with Warner Bros. Television
Patrisse Cullors just signed an agreement with Warner Bros. Television. According to the contract, the author, teacher, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Network Foundation will be tasked with developing varied television content for all platforms of this large American studio.
I want to tell the story of black people who have been leaders in the defense of civil rights. I want to tell the story of black people who fight and challenge the system. I want to tell science fiction stories with black people because I love science fiction. I want to see myself in science fiction, which makes me very interested in telling the story of black people through my prism, through what I experienced growing up, she asserted.