How two young Black Chicago women are using art and activism to change narratives about Black communities

“Fighting the system is a very big burden to take on” – Martinez Sutton, “Another Life”

The future of Chicago often seems uncertain as two factions within the city battle for power. The current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and his supporters are continuing to push a narrative which supports the divestment from Black and Brown Chicagoans while many young activists have emphasized a narrative of people over profit. In that respect, two young Black women, Morgan Johnson and Eva Lewis, are working to recognize how uplifting others, creating space for marginalized groups, and embracing authenticity are just a few of the ways that The People can reclaim power over their lives and communities. 

Liberation is a 3-step process: Broadening activism’s scope in the wake of the Movement for Black Lives

Contrary to popular belief, the Movement for Black Lives is not solely about police brutality. Bigger than body cameras and electoral politics, the Movement is about Black liberation and freedom for all Black people.

Liberation and freedom are unconventional in the sense that the system under which society currently operates makes those two realities impossible. In order to achieve them we need radical transformation, but how do we get there?

This Cover of TIME Came and Went, but it has a Message for Our Movement

On the cover of TIME Magazine’s special February edition is a faceless white man behind bars. At first glance, I assumed this was an issue about millionaires and billionaires who deserve jail time for getting over on society, but after a double take I saw that it is actually about wrongful convictions, celebrating 25 years of the Innocence Project.

This new video compares Donald Trump’s platform to the Black Panther Party’s

Unfortunately, we should now accept that Donald Trump will be President of the United States come January 20, 2017 (over a month later I’m still experiencing some disbelief in this truth). But what I won’t accept are his disingenuous attempts to be inclusive and to work for Black people.

Preaching to the Choir About Racism

“How many times do we expect Black people to build our country?” asked Samantha Bee on the episode of Full Frontal following the presidential election. I have asked this question many times and while I appreciate these sorts of sentiments from “woke” White comedians on a national level, at this point I don’t know that the jokes and the efforts to push the point carry much weight.

At What Point Do We Give Up on Our Problematic Faves?

As a Lil’ Wayne fan, I’m disappointed, and I’m allowed to be.

After his recently shared interview with ABC’s Nightline, where Wayne expressed that he doesn’t feel connected to the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of Black people reacted on social media and I think we all can admit, it was painful to watch. Many Black folks responded with “stop asking Lil’ Wayne questions about important things” or “what did you expect” from an artist like him? Well I expected more, to be honest, and to count him out of the conversation just because his answers don’t align with the current conversation around uplifting the Black community doesn’t seem right to me.

One thing I’ve learned is that in our efforts to push the Movement, we don’t have people to spare – why are we so opposed to calling him, and entertainers like him, in? Why are we so ready to throw them out, rather than challenge them?

We Need Revolution, Not Endorsements

It is true that the Movement for Black Lives is leaderless; it is also true that Deray McKesson has been dubbed the face of this same movement, and within his time as “The Face,” many people – including Black people – have come to critique his decisions. With his name most recently in the news for his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, we are given the gentle reminder that our community is not unified in its current demands and we cannot get caught up in the headlines that so often overshadow the work. 

Chicago Teachers Reach An Agreement With Mayor Emanuel But Students Remain Underserved

This past Tuesday would have been the second time the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike since Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in 2011 – if there were a strike.

For weeks there has been conversation and preparation for a strike in Chicago Public Schools, the largest school district in the state and third largest in the nation, however Mayor Emanuel managed to avoid the fallout at the last second and both sides reached an agreement. CPS teachers will get pay raises, pensions, and job security. Legally teachers are only allowed to strike over pay and benefits, so how do we meet the needs of students?

Here’s What You Need To Know About Build Black Futures Advocacy Day

Earlier this year BYP100 released the Agenda to Build Black Futures, followed by A Vision For Black Lives policy platform that they signed on to this summer, both of which spread wide in the digital space. Last week BYP100 and the National Black Justice Coalition joined each other in Washington, D.C. to take both platforms from the digital space to the congressional space for the first Build Black Futures Advocacy Day. This was a huge step in the Movement, as members of congress on both sides of the aisle have struggled to understand the Movement and it’s asks of our government.