Building a Free Black Future

A Message from Black Lives Matter Grassroots:

As we forge a free Black future, we honor, learn, and build from the generations-long liberation struggle. On July 13, 2021, Black Lives Matter will celebrate 8 years of beautiful struggle.

The future of Black Lives Matter finds its home in the on-the-ground grassroots work of organizers, chapters, and communities around the world. Black Lives Matter Grassroots is excited to begin this next chapter of our journey as our beloved co-founder and sister Patrisse transitions out of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. Black Lives Matter Grassroots houses the organizing work of Black Lives Matter and will continue our work to nurture a global Black movement with organizers and activists around the world.

From the beginning, Black Lives Matter has ascribed to the praxis of group-centered leadership. Our co-founders set forward a tremendous vision, grounded in the understanding that to build a “movement, not a moment,” requires a powerful collective and a leaderful approach to organizing. Guiding the work of BLM Grassroots are organizers who have committed our lives to struggle, including:

  • Melina Abdullah – Co-Director
  • Angela Waters Austin – Director of Operations and Policy
  • Dawn Modkins – Director of Chapter Coordination
  • Jorden Giger – Director of Outreach
  • Audrena Redmond – Director of Political Education
  • Karlene Griffiths Sekou – Director of Healing Justice and International Organizing

Our team works in partnership with the Global Network Foundation and welcomes its new Interim Senior Executives, Monifa Bandele and Makani Themba, who have long been a part of the Black Lives Matter ecosystem and are committed to resource-building that offers a base of support for Black freedom struggle. BLM Grassroots leaders serve and build with a much larger body of BLM members, many of whom work in local, national, and global spaces.

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and nearly 1,000 others at the hands of police and white-supremacist violence in the midst of a global health pandemic with an economic fallout that has had a disproportionate impact on Black people has made the last year particularly painful and challenging. Our immense fight back is a testament to the vision, brilliance, creativity, courage, and resilience of Black people. Hope has been born out of our collective anguish as we redouble our commitment to build. We have:

  • Continued our on-the-ground abolition work, refusing a return to normal in the face of murderous and violent policing.
  • Created our own media, through our weekly This Is Not a Drill series.
  • Expanded People’s Budget work across the country.
  • Launched #EndPoliceAssociations: a national campaign to expose and bring an end to role that police associations (which parade themselves as unions) play in labor, politics, and community.
  • Affirmed our deep love for Black women, who keep our communities thriving through the Black Women Are Divine campaign.
  • Partnered with the Love Not Blood campaign to resource the powerful work of families whose loved ones have been stolen by police violence.
  • Expanded our support for Black-owned businesses through Verified Black-Owned.
  • Initiated the BLM Survival Fund, allocating $3 million in $1,000 mini-grants as direct support to Black people who were struggling in the midst of the pandemic.
  • Continued to push for the adoption of the BREATHE Act, a necessary step in our abolitionist movement to defund the police.

Over the past six months, BLM Grassroots has created a process for onboarding new chapters that will nourish our collective vision for Black freedom. Together we will build, grow, and expand while harnessing the wisdom learned over the past 8 years. As we work to bring these new chapters into the fold worldwide, we are resolute in our commitment to Black liberation and to principled struggle. Now is the time to fortify our deep roots while strengthening new relationships and strategic work.

The pillars that hold our work are:

  • Local organizing and mobilization
  • International solidarity
  • Policy and research
  • Healing justice
  • Political education

Through these pillars, we will build a new future, where Black folks everywhere are free.

You can continue to follow and all Black Lives Matter social media to stay engaged as we launch new campaigns and actions.

In love and solidarity, and on behalf of Black Lives Matter Grassroots,

Melina Abdullah
Co-Director, BLM Grassroots