Hundreds of Black Freedom Fighters Unite for the First Ever Movement for Black Lives Convening

For Immediate Release

Hundreds of Black Freedom Fighters Unite for the First Ever Movement for Black Lives Convening

"It’s a Movement, Not a Moment"

WASHINGTON - In the first ever Movement for Black Lives Convening, freedom fighters from Oakland to New York, will meet in Cleveland from July 24-26 to build a national community dedicated to permanently changing the country.

Convening workshops will focus on strategic planning, political education and advocacy, cultural arts, sustainable farming, and healing spaces. The weekend will provide a space to create a collective mission that matches the intensity, scale, urgency, and promise of months of action.

The movement continues to grow exponentially. As a response to the ongoing state of emergency, many have taken to the streets and social media; marched in protests to in response to continued police murders of Black people; demanded an end to racist policies; fought for the dignity of Black women and transgender communities; and rallied in support of fast food workers in the Fight for $15.

“We have established a decentralized, but coordinated, movement that has already changed the discussion about racial justice and police violence; and now it is important that we gather, continue the discussion and build alignment,” said Maurice Mitchell, organizer with the Movement for Black Lives “At the Convening we hope to see a collective vision emerge to build meaningful power and agency in the Black community.”

The Department of Justice launched an investigation of the Cleveland Police Department (CPD), much like the Ferguson Police Department and the Baltimore Police Department, for “excessive force” and violation of community trust in Black neighborhoods. The CPD investigation follows the not guilty verdict of an officer who stood on top the hood of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams’ car and fired straight down at the pair, subsequent protests, and the creation of the Community Police Commission.

“At the Movement for Black Lives Convening, we will share the organizing history of Cleveland and plans for direct actions to support our city,” said Malaya Davis, organizer with The Ohio Student Association, “We will also begin a conversation about other cities’ organizing efforts that will continue across the country and build lasting collaborations."

The conference comes at a time of concern for Black communities who are reminded of the impact of vigilante violence. On June 14, 9 Black members of Mother Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were killed by a white man as an act of terrorism. Police said the gunman was motivated by racial hatred and photographed holding confederate flags. 8 Black churches have burned in the less than two weeks after the shooting.

But organizers are heartened that the conference also comes just weeks after Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole outside of the Statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina and removed the Confederate flag. Newsome told CNN, “the work continues until we are no longer in a place of being dependent on institutions and systems that don’t value our lives.”

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Open, and created by many voices, The Movement for Black Lives Convening will be a space to realize that promise fully on our terms as Black people. We invite all Black people invested in this movement to join the convening to shape our present and chart our future.

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