The BlackOUT Collective

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The BlackOUT Collective is a radical full service direct action organization. We build organizations’ capacity to execute creative and effective direct actions in service of their organizing and advocacy work. We do this through providing personalized direct action trainings and on the ground action support. We see ourselves as a “Liberation Lab”- a container for experimentation, deep space visioning and learning.

“His nickname was Mike-Mike and his favorite color was blue,” these where the words moving words shared by Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown Jr. shared at the national Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland, Ohio. Michael Brown Jr., an 18-year-old young man, was murdered on the 9th of August in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. This blatant show of police brutality sparked social unrest and civil disobedience across the country and raised the under acknowledged realities of police brutality, anti-Black violence and state-sanctioned violence against Black communities to the national stage.

Mission

The BlackOUT Collective’s mission is to train 10,000 black people in the next 4 years to be direct action practitioners and strategist through campaign, abolitionist and rapid response frameworks. Given The BlackOUT Collective’s analysis of the strengths and needs in the field, the expertise in our team and our theory of change, Blackout collective’s goals are:

  • Strengthen and support individual leaders and organizers to build the skills, expertise, confidence and capacity to executive effective direct action
  • Work closely with local organizing organizations to integrate direct action strategies into their existing campaign strategies and frameworks
  • Build potential leaders ability to leverage strategic direct action for winnable demands, nurture budding community organizers, and create lasting community power
  • Build solidarity and alliances with communities invested in ending anti-Blackness – specifically Asian, Latino and Indigenous Communities.

Uplift direct actions happening across the country and share with leaders

In service to our goals and our unique contributions, we have:

  • Coordinated 35 actions across country in partnership with grassroots organizations and non-profits
  • Trained 2,050 direct action practitioners
  • Supported over 63 actions that have made local,regional, and national impact
  • Provided support and training to movement organizations [1]

Birth

On the 10th of October 2014, local community-based organizations and organizers put out a national call for direct action trainers and practitioners, with a diverse skills set, to travel to Ferguson to come and support their work. There was a specific request for direct action trainers to support the community residents and activist in direct clash with local police and National Guard. A group of trainers traveled from Oakland, Boston and other areas of the country to Ferguson to answer the call for Black direct action trainers to coordinate a “Moral Monday” action. Upon arriving, they witnessed the lack of Black direct action trainers and the critical need to build this expertise among community residents, students, activists and others in Ferguson.

These young leaders arriving in Ferguson had the opportunity to attend a direct action training by the Ruckus Society. This training layered onto their experiences as youth and community organizers offered the critical and unique set of skills of facilitation, curriculum development, multigenerational training, grounded in the theory and practice of civic disobedience and direct action. These young leaders worked closely with the Organization for Black Struggle as well as, TribeX, and Lifted Voices, and supported various types of civil disobedience and direct actions during this period of massive disruption, giving birth to a growing national movement. It is in this crucible of mass movement that The BlackOUT Collective was born. Since its inception, The BlackOUT Collective has been driven by a vision of liberation, and guided by the decree in the struggle for Black freedom and liberation, that, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass.[2]

Collective staff members

The BlackOUT Collective staff members, November 2019.

References