The Black community often says, “We have no leader,” but I beg to differ. Angela Y. Davis has been a longstanding staple in the fight against mass incarceration, racism and sexism. Do we not view her as a viable Black leader because she is a woman? This may be a conversation to have amongst ourselves.
As we march in the streets and march on through life during our community’s valid unrest nestled within the threat of a worldwide pandemic, we should begin to think about which leaders are important to us. Who has been advocating for us with little to no recognition? How does their hard work and compassion contrast to those who are in power?
I’ve shared a quote of Angela Y. Davis’ words during a June 12 interview with Amy Goodman from “Democracy Now.” When I write about Black women, I like to share their long, sprawling thoughts because we have been censored and whittled down to sound bites whenever we have a chance to speak in the media. I tend to veer from traditional forms of reporting that condenses their narratives.
I have also shared five books written by Angela Y. Davis so we can experience her vast knowledge and activism that support the progression and safety of Black lives:
“The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues” (2012)
“The Angela Y. Davis Reader” (1998)
“Women, Culture & Politics” (1990)
“Abolition. Feminism. Now” (2021)
“Women, Race, & Class” (1983)
Davis stated, “This is an extraordinary moment. I have never experienced anything like the conditions we are currently experiencing, the conjuncture created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recognition of the systemic racism that has been rendered visible under these conditions because of the disproportionate deaths in Black and Latinx communities. And this is a moment I don’t know whether I ever expected to experience.
“When the protests began, of course, around the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade and many others who have lost their lives to racist state violence and vigilante violence, when these protests erupted, I remembered something that I’ve said many times to encourage activists, who often feel that the work that they do is not leading to tangible results. I often ask them to consider the very long trajectory of Black struggles. And what has been most important is the forging of legacies, the new arenas of struggle that can be handed down to younger generations.
“But I’ve often said one never knows when conditions may give rise to a conjuncture such as the current one that rapidly shifts popular consciousness and suddenly allows us to move in the direction of radical change. If one does not engage in the ongoing work when such a moment arises, we cannot take advantage of the opportunities to change. And, of course, this moment will pass. The intensity of the current demonstrations cannot be sustained over time, but we will have to be ready to shift gears and address these issues in different arenas, including, of course, the electoral arena.”