Gerry Lauzon/Flickr

Organizing in Chicago is a matter of strategy

By: Chaya Crowder

Young Black activists in Chicago are wholly committed to local community engagement and cultivating a new generation of politically empowered leaders. Chicago’s chapter of the Black Youth Project 100 continues to lead the way in the innovation of community organizing strategies and building efforts.

Black Youth Project 100 is an all Black, member-based organization comprised of young people ranging in age from 18 to 35, as well as a partner organization of Black Youth Project (BYP). BYP got the opportunity to speak to activists from Black Youth Project 100, including Johnaé Strong and Asha Rosa to discuss the organization’s goals and strategies towards achieving Black Liberation.


It matters that people are afraid to travel in the US due to police violence

Yesterday, my partner and I planned a day trip. We were thinking about just getting away from it all after a tough week of violence against Black people and the racist mainstream news cycle to accompany it. We looked up some spots that were within an hour driving distance from Chicago, thinking this might be a good opportunity to let the kids experience something new. Then, we remembered that we are Black and we are unsafe everywhere.

Also, the boy and his mother aren't pleased with this photo.

Here’s what young people think about police violence and guns

The survey findings below are summarized in the report “Gun Violence, Policing, and Young Communities of Color – July 2016” which can be downloaded here.

The recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have raised important questions on the issues of gun violence, policing, and communities of color in the United States. Most importantly, the increased media attention to this issue shines a light on the ways that people of all genders, races, ages, and classes develop political opinions on these societal conditions.


The Importance of Mental Health After Major Tragedies

I turned 24 years old on Wednesday, the same day I watched two black men lay lifeless after being shot by police officers.

Then I watched the aftermath of a sniper attack in downtown Dallas, interrupting a peaceful protest as an opportunity to cause pain and instill fear. I’ve laughed, cried, fought sleep and passed out due to exhaustion this week. Yet, these experiences are likely being felt by millions of people across the country along with me. 


Black Woman Officer, Nakia Jones, Posts Viral Video In Response to Cops Killing Blacks

There have been varied reactions to the footage of both Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old man who was shot and killed while police had him pinned down to the ground in Lousiana, and Philando Castile, a 32-year-old man who was shot four times in the chest at a routine traffic stop. One Ohio  police officer named Nakia Jones posted a video response that is going viral. 


Homelessness remains a serious problem in the state of California

By: Chaya Crowder

There is a homeless crisis in Los Angeles County. On a given night there are more than 46,000 people without homes in Los Angeles. Policy makers and community activists are drawing attention to this growing issue. A May 2016 poll by the African American Voter Registration, Education and Participation project found that 93 percent of African American voters in California view homelessness as a high priority for elected officials to address.


My Conflicted Feelings On The Fourth Of July

Growing up, July 4th always meant popsicles and watermelon, fireworks and family, ribs and chicken. It sometimes meant a trip to Brookdale Park if my friends were coming by or Dan Foley if we were going to my auntie’s house. It never meant struggle or disenfranchisement and it certainly didn’t seem particularly political to me (except for the fact that almost everybody had the day off).

While my understanding of the national holiday and its relation to Black Americans has greatly changed over time, I still have a place in my heart for the ways it has added to my collective memory and childhood. This conflictedness and dissonance reemerges for me every year as I am reminded of what the holiday initially signified for enslaved Blacks in the United States.

Courtesy of Catherine Malandrino

Why Black Americans Should Still Celebrate This Independence Day

If we aren’t fully free, how do we celebrate this country’s freedom?

Next Monday, Americans all over the world will celebrate Independence Day, the day the thirteen colonies declared their independence from the British crown. On July 5th, 1852, however, Frederick Douglass was not in celebratory mood. In a speech to the Ladies’ Antislavery Society, Douglass discussed the history of Independence Day and acknowledged the bravery of the founders. But he had an important question for his audience, “Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?” This question still resonates today.