Patrisse Cullors

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Patrisse Cullors


Patrisse Cullors is affiliated with the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Cullors is an artist, organizer and freedom fighter living and working in Los Angeles. As founder of Dignity and Power Now and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, she has worked tirelessly promoting law enforcement accountability across the nation.

Dignity and Power Now is dedicated to protecting incarcerated people and their families in Los Angeles. As executive director, Ms. Cullors has undertaken several projects ranging from the Coalition to End Sheriff Violence, Freedom Harvest artist collective, a bi-annual publication, the Dandelion Rising Leadership Institute and Building Resilience. In August of this year, the organization issued a report in collaboration with the UCLA Human Rights Clinic on the high percentage of black, mentally ill inmates. The report received coverage from multiple media outlets.

Founded in 2013, #BlackLivesMatter and Ms. Cullors has been on the ground in cities across the country providing support to those who have taken action and responded to the ongoing virulent anti-Black racism permeating our society. Ms. Cullors and her team brought together more than 600 people from across the country to take part in the organization’s Freedom Ride from St. Louis to Ferguson in Fall of 2014.

She recently completed a fellowship at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership where she prepared and led a think tank on state and vigilante violence for the 2014 Without Borders Conference and produced and directed a theatrical piece titled POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied.

Ms. Cullors is a Fulbright Scholarship recipient, was named 2007 Mario Savio Activist of the Year and received the Sidney Goldfarb award. She earned a degree in religion and philosophy from UCLA.[1]

Black Lives Matter

Alicia Garza created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.[2]

Black Left Unity

Kazembe Balagun's report on Black Left Unity conference.

On the weekend of May 31-Jun 1,2008, dozens of African American organizers, artists and activists convened the first Black Left Unity(BLU) Meeting at the Sonia Hayes Center in Chapel Hill, NC.The gathering was a continuation of the Black Left Unity caucus that meet in Atlanta during the US Social Forum.

As the BLU statement reads "[In Atlanta] most agreed that the Gulf Coast/Katrina disaster is a defining moment that requires that Black revolutionaries unite and work to build a National Black United Black United Front….. and support a Gulf Coast Reconstruction Movement."The

goals of the conference were to explore the history of the Black liberation Movement(BLM), assess the current political situation as well as looking at the BLM as part of a wider fight back against war and racism.

Participants ranged from independent political activists to members of the Workers World Party, Miami Workers Center, the Los Angeles Labor Strategy Center, Mississippi Workers Center, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Black Workers for Justice and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. Meeting in North Carolina not only provided a geographical advantage for both East Coast and southern activists but a historical grounding as well. North Carolina was the site of the first "sit-ins" in Greensboro, NC as well as the training ground for activists such as Ella Baker. Today, North Carolina is continuing the radical tradition through organizations like Spirit House, UBUNTU, El Kilombo Collective and a number of farming co-operatives.

Coming some ten years after the historic Black Radical Congress in 1998, the BLU gathering was an attempt to articulate the challenges and opportunities facing the Black liberation movement.

The opening plenary featured Brenda Stokely, Patrisse Cullors, Jay Woodson and Yvette Modestin. Brenda Stokely gave a brief history of the history of the Black radical left.

Patrisse Cullors give, in my opinion the best presentation of the opening panel, looking at the Black left through the lens of globalization.The Black community is subject to the neo-liberal demands placed on the Third World. As such, a Black left fight back must include issues of the environment as well as questions of economics. The Labor Strategy Community Center serves a good starting point in terms of thinking about means of what it means to synthesize organizing practice alongside a strong media strategy.
These problems reflect the overall orientation of the conference organizers who tended to come from more traditional Marxist Leninist backgrounds, who haven't developed positions on how questions of gender, youth and queerness play a fundamental role in defining what is Black.[3]

Attendees

Those who attended the conference included Saladin Muhammad, Black Workers for Justice and the Black Workers League; ILWU Local 10 leader Clarence Thomas; activist and poet, Amiri Baraka; Million Worker March leader, Brenda Stokely; Ana Edwards, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality; Ajamu Baraka, U.S. Human Rights Network; Patrisse Cullors, Labor Strategy Center; Efia Nwangaza; Theresa El-Amin; Kali Akuno from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Jaribu Hill, Mississippi Workers for Human Rights; Vickie White, People’s Organization for Progress; labor organizer, Angaza Laughinghouse; Larry Adams, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW); cultural artist, Luci Murphy; educators Muntu Matsimela, T. Menelik Van Der Meer and Sam Anderson; Yvette Modestin, Afrocaribenas y de la Diaspora; Colia Clark; and activists representing Fight Imperialism-Stand Together (FIST) and the Troops Out Now Coalition.

The conference delegates agreed to continue the various ways to consolidate the building of a Black United Front on a regional level in the coming months.[4]

US Social Forum 2010

As the “Tea Party” Right rises in U.S. politics and the U.S. Empire continues to reach around the globe, there is an urgent need to build a new left that roots a creative, explicit, anti-racist, anti-imperialist politics inside working-class communities of color. In this session, Ai-jen Poo (National Domestic Workers Alliance), Steve Williams (POWER), Cindy Wiesner (Grassroots Global Justice), Ng’ethe Maina (Social Justice Leadership), and Patrisse Cullors and Eric Mann (Labor/Community Strategy Center) will engage Mann's new pamphlet, The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory, which identifies 7 core elements of social movement building that have powered grassroots organizations on their way to winning historic struggles against slavery, war, apartheid and empire. The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory is a companion to Mann’s forthcoming book, The 21 Qualities of the Successful Organizing: A Journey in Transformative Organizing (Beacon, 2011). [5]

LA comrades

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Gabriel Strachota with Chantal Coudoux, Richie Reseda, Patrisse Cullors and Rey Fukuda Salinas.January 12, 2011.

Left Forum 2011

Transformative Organizing: The Ultimate Solidarity:

Case Studies of Successful Multiracial Campaigns Rooted in the Working Class:

Ride to Ferguson

Darnell Moore and Patrisse Cullors wrote "5 ways to never forget Ferguson – and deliver real justice for Michael Brown" on Cullors' blog Oct 30, 2014;

An 18-hour ride on an old – and late – charter bus would be enough to fill the most seasoned traveler with apprehension and anxiety. But waiting to board exactly such a bus with 40 other black people, mostly strangers, to ride halfway across the country to St Louis, Missouri, we were praying for more than just functioning air conditioning.

On our way to Ferguson as part of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) ride, we were hoping for safe travels: some of us were aware that hundreds of black people traveling long distances could easily be cause for police stops; others had stories to tell about their encounters with police. When we arrived and met people who had been on the road for 36 hours or more, we were hardly even tired, despite the uncomfortable rest. But we were all rightfully enraged, and ready to fight for justice.
The BLM Ride was organized in the spirit of the early 1960s interstate Freedom Rides in the racially segregated south, after the visuals of Michael Brown’s lifeless and blood-drenched body brought to mind images of lifeless black bodies hanging from lynching trees in the all-too-recent past, after the militarized police forces looked all too similar to the response of police to protestors during the civil rights movement....
Local, community-based advocacy organizations like the Organization for Black Struggle and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, as well as groups organized by fearless young activists like Lost Voices, have committed to fighting until justice is served for Mike Brown. Our group is proof that dedicated and skilled black folks can work – together – to end state violence, homelessness, joblessness, imprisonment and more inside black communities.
We have a moment, inspired by those working on the ground in Ferguson, to transform black people’s relationship to this country. The time is now. If we don’t pick up the mantle for justice, we will miss it yet again.

Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation

Dream Defenders Palestine Delegation toured "Palestine" and in Israel, early January 2015.

The full list of delegates included five Dream Defenders (Phillip Agnew, Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, Ahmad Abuznaid), Tef Poe and Tara Thompson (Ferguson/Hands Up United), journalist Marc Lamont Hill, Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez (Justice League NYC), Charlene Carruthers (Black Youth Project), poet and artist Aja Monet, Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter), and Maytha Alhassen.[6]
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On a historic trip to Palestine, freedom fighters from Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, Ferguson, and Atlanta were able to witness firsthand the effects of Israeli apartheid and occupation, and to learn from the people who are actively resisting on the front lines. In Nazareth, the delegates decided to do a solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, and features "Ella's Song" by Sweet Honey in the Rock, sung by Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders’ Executive Director Phillip Agnew; poet, artist, and New York Justice League member, Aja Monet; rapper and Ferguson/Hands Up United organizer Tef Poe, and Ferguson/ Hands Up United organizer, Tara Thompson. Dream Defenders Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, and Ahmad Abuznaid, journalist Marc Lamont Hill, New York Justice League organizers Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez, and Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California Doctoral Candidate, are seen preforming the debke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance.[7]

1st Anniversary of the #Ferguson Uprising

Maurice Moe Mitchell August 5, 2015,

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  1. UnitedWeFight: 1st Anniversary of the #Ferguson Uprising - National Conference Call. Thurs. 8PM EST / 7PM CST Register at http://bit.ly/uwfcall — with Justin Hansford, Scott A. Roberts, Mary Hooks, Kayla M. Reed, Diamond Latchison, Kareem Jackson, Bukky Gbadegesin, Katrina Gamble, Tanya Lucia Bernard, Tory Russell, Cedric Lawson, Alicia Garza, Leslie Mac, Charlene Carruthers, Patrisse Cullors, Cherrell Brown, Dante Barry, Waltrina N. Middleton, Damon Turner, Marbre Stahly-Butts, Ash-Lee Henderson, Damon Davis, Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris, Mari Morales-Williams, Mervyn Marcano, Nicole Lee, Elandria Williams, Opal Ayo, Jonathan Pulphus, Dara Cooper, Michael McBride, Umi Selah, Osagyefo Sekou, Tara Tee, Rose Berry, Sistufara W. Muhammad, Purvi Shah, Cid Nichols, Ingrid Benedict, Jade Ogunnaike, James Hayes, Anita Nichole, Joe Worthy and The Movement for Black Lives.

The Movement for Black Lives

The Black Lives Matter "Movement for Black Lives" conference was held in Cleveland Ohio, July 24-26, 2015.

Solidarity is a Verb, Collaboration is a Practice, Patrisse Cullors, Elle Hearns.[8]

References