“NEW POLITICAL GENERATION” – Gender and society

"NEW POLITICAL GENERATION" - Gender and society
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Dr. Shaneda Destine

Tyree Nichols on January 7th. Stopped, beaten and killed by Memphis police– 2023, 6 hours from my house. But Tyree Nichols is more than just a headline and a police victim, he was a father, a son, a smiling photographer. He was 100 yards from his mother’s house when he lost his life. Although Tyree’s death is as horrific as any other death by police officers, the Memphis Police Department was quick to blame black officers. The indictment is a reminder of the glaring disparity in justice received by black men killed by white police officers, and the invisibility of black women and queer victims who receive almost no popular media coverage of the police violence they face. Tyree’s brutal police attack was covered by all national news outlets, but less popular in the media is black women and queer experiences of police violence. My research explores the experiences of Black women and queer people in the Movement for Black Lives to explore how their work and struggles against police violence are often overlooked and undermined.

In my last article, Gender & Society, I explored the activists of the Black Lives Matter movement as it evolved into a series of grassroots collaborations across America. I researched more than 21 organizations for this study. All of them are formally or informally involved in the mobilization of the Movement for Black Lives. My research focuses on black women and queer people as organizers of this movement. I suspected that in protest calls for abolition and in the halls of our justice system, they might offer an intersectional analysis of the movement as a way to contain patriarchy, homophobia, and transphobia. My research has shown that to understand how strong a movement is, we should look at how leaders work to keep the needs of marginalized people at the center of the movement’s needs.

In this study, 2016-2019 I interviewed 48 Black women and queer people in Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, and other places. It’s a millennial movement that exemplifies what Ruth Milkman calls a “new political generation.” While some of the organizations associated with the Black Movement in this study focus on Black Lives Matter and the disabled, others still have work to do to make these basic liberation strategies clear to all organizational members.

My research study found that many local Black Lives Matter social movement organizations are places where women and queer people still struggle with patriarchy, homophobia, and classism. While Black women and queer leaders strive to remain inclusive in their local organizations, they face challenges within and outside of their local organizations.

Movement for Black Lives 2023 It’s been 10 years, and this multi-generational gathering to demand that Trayvon Martin’s killer be brought to justice has only increased his commitment to eradicating Black Futures and including all voices in the Black community. This commitment was demonstrated globally during 2020. riots in response to the public suffocation of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin. However, the death of Tyree Nichols and from 2020 the rising number of police killings proves that challenges continue to arise and that liberation is even more necessary. This research suggests that grassroots organizations, scholars, movement participants, and those concerned with justice need to talk about how our movements can reflect the world we want. My work shows that Black queer leaders and organizers are helping our movements reflect the justice we need. Through world-building, analysis, and combat, we should achieve the world we want, and in the moves that model that world.

Dr. Shaneda Destine researches race, gender, sexuality, and contemporary social movements. She is most concerned with how state violence affects the livelihoods of marginalized people. She explores forms of resistance by Black women and Black Queer people as they create spaces of Black Joy and Respite in their struggle for liberation. Her research reveals the unique ways in which Black women and men are affected by state violence and the ways in which they strategize and negotiate organizing, leading, and caring for themselves and movement participants as part of their political practice.

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