This article has been condensed for brevity.
On Wednesday evening, journalist Jamilah Lemieux and activist/organizer Tamika D. Mallory sat down on My Black Is Beautiful Instagram and went live about digital activism, grassroots organizing work, and ways that millennials and even the generation after, fight for justice in this new age. Before starting, Lemieux asked the audience two poignant questions:
“To be fair, we haven’t had an easy time in this country, have we?”
“In one word, what does it mean to fight at this moment?”
JLM: “Does this moment feel like the moment we’ve been waiting for?”
TDM: “I feel like these young people are different. They are not the same young people– with us, it was you can’t say this, you can’t do these things, you need to be careful. We came at things from a different perspective because we were given all the reasons why not. I think with our children, we are encouraging and letting them know that they don’t have to put up with the shit we had to deal with, AND you can be ANYTHING you want to be. There’s not a particular job or career that you have to have. These kids have learned to design apps; they’re making a million dollars on Youtube before people who have been working for 25 years could even dream of touching. They have a boldness. It takes the wisdom of our elders, the strategies of the middle-aged folks, with the connection of a very courageous group of young people to move this country, and we saw it happen.
JLM: For those who did not grow up during The Black Power Movement, everybody thinks that all black people were on the same page, everybody supported the bus boycott, and everybody supported Martin Luther King, and that wasn’t true. Can you talk a bit about what you’re feeling when you go into these communities when you’re having these conversations with people who haven’t been engaged in activism as long as you have, what are you feeling from our people?
TDM: Those people are my sweet spot. I love going to a regular chicken joint in the community and saying, hey, let me tell you about this fight. In most cases, I’ll find that they’re like yeah! We’re pissed off, but we didn’t know” because they don’t have the time to follow everybody on social media, look at all the posts. They don’t have the time to watch 20 different news stations to see which one has the information about a rally. You have to go to the people and organize them. And a lot of people are trying to figure out why some of their movements, their action is falling on deaf ears. It is because people are not going to the ground where these issues impact people. Those of us on social media don’t understand how privileged we are to have a cellphone that has the internet flowing through it. We don’t understand it because it’s so natural to us. We have to go to where Ray Ray and Keisha live. Tell them about the movement and help them understand. Accept the criticism that comes with the trauma that they feel from the last 2-3 people that showed up, left, and never did anything, extracted resources from that community, and never helped… we have to be prepared for all of that!
To watch in full: Please visit the My Black Is Beautiful page on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tv/CBRkIABAh-n/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link.