What has been known as Seattle’s Black Lives Matter movement* has been plagued—almost from the start—by abusive men who have co-opted the mantle to promote themselves and have derailed organizing & advocacy efforts by berating, diminishing, belittling, and harassing black women, femme, queer and trans people. As a result, many black and POC targets of this abuse have either left this movement or remained on the fringes in order to protect themselves. Until now, they have not had the power or support necessary to address these issues without being further victimized or targeted.
Black Lives Matter was started by black women, yet Seattle’s BLM movement has had a history of alienating them. We believe that the leadership of black women, femmes, queer and trans people are a necessary, core ingredient for any movement that wishes to flourish and attract people of all backgrounds and abilities. Thanks in part to the black women who started #MeToo, the time has come to distance ourselves from these abusive men and create a new space where survivors are empowered to lead again.
Many people, especially white allies, have not known of these problems plaguing the local movement. Unfortunately, these problems aren’t new; they have existed for generations. There has been much debate in the past few years about how to reclaim the movement from abusers and how to move forward in the work to liberate black and other people of color from systemic oppression.
The never-ending cycle of trauma caused by systemic oppression and abuse, coupled with the abuse caused by people who claim to lead or be a part of the movement has left too many black women, femmes, queer and trans people exhausted, disillusioned, pained, fed up, and angry. It is critical that people understand clearly and without debate: this cycle has caused real harm, to real people, and it is not the responsibility of survivors to redeem the reputation or position of known abusers. No movement can exist and truly impact change unless these issues are addressed and unless the movement is once again centered on the leadership, work, experience, and wisdom of those who have been targeted and marginalized.
Starting a new Black Lives Matter chapter is an uphill effort that requires help from everyone, and it requires a willingness to at least make the attempt to do things differently. It will take time to grow leadership and a base of support. It will take time to develop trust where it has too often been broken time and time again. But we must do what we can to make that climb, and we must do it together.
To get started, BLM Seattle-King County will create an event for black women, femmes, queer and trans people to come together and talk. We need to validate each other, to see and acknowledge our individual experiences. We need their input, guidance, and leadership on what they would like to see from this movement going forward.
BLM Seattle-King County will focus on the empowerment and liberation of black and other people of color through advocacy and direct action. We have to find balance between marching in the streets and meeting in the boardroom. We have to develop an agenda of priorities and keep the focus on those priorities.
We also know that we are going to make mistakes. There will be times when our intention and our impact don’t match. But we effort to do no harm to each other, and instead make progress where it is needed most. We need your help.
1. Like the Facebook page for BLM Seattle King County and invite other to do the same. It’s important to get the word out to as many people as possible. When information is posted to the page, share it.
2. Join the email list. Our emails are strictly focused on BLM Seattle-King County activities and updates. We will not publish or share your contact information. Subscribe here: http://subscribe.blacklivesseattle.org
3. Volunteer. This is a massive effort. If we all take a piece, we can move the boulder up hill, together. Send us an email at email@example.com. Feel free to introduce yourself and say hi.
4. Donate. More information to come soon.
Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County is a grassroots social justice cooperative effort focused on the empowerment and liberation of black and other people of color through advocacy and direct action. BLM Seattle-King County centers leadership on Black femmes, women, and queer people.
The core activists and organizers of BLM Seattle King County is a group of Black and other people of color focused on dismantling anti-black systems and policies of oppression. The strategy team meetings regularly around Seattle to direct these efforts. Events, meetings, communications and admin needs are volunteer led. Moderators for the Facebook page are on the About/Page Info tab. To contact us or attend the next strategy team meeting email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
*BLM Seattle-King County is not affiliated with the Black Liberation Movement or the #BlackLivesMatter Seattle Action Group.