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WE THE BLACKS MUST RISE.

"Austin Clinton Brown, 9,  at the March on Washington in 1963."

"Austin Clinton Brown, 9,  at the March on Washington in 1963."

November 15,2016

We the Blacks must rise: a letter to the young from Amanda, Makela and Shemariah

Dear Young Clevelanders,

What a time to be alive…in our city. 

This year, Cleveland won an NBA championship, an ALC Title and hosted the Republican National Convention. Forbes Magazine, named Cleveland the hottest city right now. Indeed, all eyes are on Cleveland, yet Black and Brown youth in Cleveland continue to be overlooked.

Cleveland is one of the most segregated cites in America and is also among the poorest big cities. Our schools are consistently underfunded and perpetually underperforming. Our communities lack fresh and affordable produce and there is still no justice for Tamir Rice or Tanisha Anderson.

Phillip Montgomery, "A Tense Scene in Cleveland (RNC) ", 2016

Phillip Montgomery, "A Tense Scene in Cleveland (RNC) ", 2016

On Election Day, our state confirmed the long-standing adage “so goes Ohio, so goes the nation.”  The 45th President-Elect of The United States of America is the most polarizing presidential candidate in decades.  His campaign was based on racism, fueled by hatred and bigotry with overtones of white supremacy. This mindset perpetuates the cycle of oppression by pitting whites against “minoritized” populations, resulting in a divided country.  The silent majority took this election. They wanted to quash the progress of the steadily building intersectional movement, mobilizing against oppression. 

Devin Allen, Baltimore, 2015

Devin Allen, Baltimore, 2015

Joseph Rodriquez," Treme", New Orleans, LA, September 2006.

Joseph Rodriquez," Treme", New Orleans, LA, September 2006.

Trumps plans to bring back law and order, stop and frisk as well as to increase militarism in policing are in direct opposition to police reform in this country. Police departments across this nation, including Ferguson, Baltimore and Cleveland are already under a microscope for bias policing and use of excessive force against minorities.

Yungi Kim, Baltimore, Maryland. April 28, 2015, Mourning Freddie Gray.

Yungi Kim, Baltimore, Maryland. April 28, 2015, Mourning Freddie Gray.

Furthermore, white supremacy is still not talked about among our white liberal allies. They are embarrassed by its existence, yet they continue to benefit from it at our expense. They joke about fleeing the country which shows in the face of adversity, they are willing to abandon this country and their commitment to fighting for liberation. But, fret not. We have not forgotten about you.

As your adult allies, three Black women who live, work and study in Cleveland, we will not for one minute leave our posts on the front lines of this movement. As Shemariah, our outreach coordinator often states, "The day after election we need to be ready.  We need to organize now.”  Thus, we will continue our fight to end the indignities of racism, police violence and poverty in Cleveland and beyond.  We want you to grow up in a community where your civil liberties are protected and fall second to none.

Shooting Without Bullets is a program where you, the youth, can mobilize for social change in a constructive and creative manner through photovoice and mixed media. We built this program for you to share your feelings about the social issues that are shaping your lives. It’s time for you to tell your story. The start of our new program cycle couldn't be more timely.

We invite you to join us on November 28 for our second cohort. Remember to Apply by November 23 at http://www.shootingwithoutbullets.org/winter-cohort-2017/

We believe that together we can create our way to freedom.

In power… In love…In service,

Amanda, Makela and Shemariah of Shooting Without Bullets.

Brooklyn, New York, USA: Writing on wall: “We the Blacks must rise.” 1970.

Brooklyn, New York, USA: Writing on wall: “We the Blacks must rise.” 1970.

Video: priestess of soul, Nina Simone, discusses what it means to be an artist and to be free.