As August begins its sweltering march toward the end of summer, we are reminded of the blood, sweat, and tears that come with the fight for justice. Over the past week, we have heard news of the murders of Skye Mockabee, Joyce Quaweay, and Korryn Gaines — all young black women. Mockabee was found dead in a parking lot; Quaweay was tortured and killed by her boyfriend and his friend because her boyfriend says she “would not submit” to him in the way he wanted; and Gaines was shot in front of her child by police officers serving an arrest warrant.
We dedicate this Social Justice Forecast to them, but we will not simply say their names and mourn. We will continue the fight for our collective liberation, and honor blackness and womanhood in every form. We will go forward boldly into the sun toward a better world.
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long:
Everywhere: Bring a hailstorm of hashtags and #SayHerName.
Keep folks talking, asking questions, and demanding justice for #SkyeMockabee, #JoyceQuaweay, and #KorrynGaines. Add the hashtag #SayHerName to tie their stories to the national conversation about justice for black women, who are subject to alarmingly high rates of violence. Show your support however you can, but be wary of fund-raising pages that are not confirmed to be in contact with the families of these women; look to reputable leaders and organizations who will be providing information on how to support in the coming days and weeks.
We've got a warm front of solidarity moving into Baltimore, Maryland, for Korryn Gaines; black queer feminist rainbows in New Orleans for the Love Is Lifeforce workshop; and looking ahead to black sunshine working its way to Decatur, Georgia, later in the month!
Friday, August 5
Baltimore, Maryland: Wear pink at the Vigil for Korryn.
3220 The Alameda
Baltimore, MD 21218
Folks at Baltimore City College High School are holding a vigil in remembrance of Korryn Gaines, and they ask that people show their respect by coming together in memory of her. Candles will be provided, but the supply is limited so bring extras to help out if you can! Attendees who wish to express solidarity with Gaines’s loved ones can also wear pink lipstick or lip gloss in recognition of #PinkKissesForKay. (According to her friends who started the hashtag, pink was Gaines’s favorite shade.) I think of candlelight vigils as reminders that alone we are only solitary flames, but together we can outshine the sun.
Seattle, Washington: Celebrate African heritage at Umoja Fest!
August 5 – August 7
Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman St.
Seattle, WA 98144
This weekend kicks off the Umoja Fest 2016. Umoja means “unity” in Swahili, and this event is all about coming together for parades, music, basketball tournaments, and good food. All of this is held in honor of the historic contributions of Africans and their descendants in Washington, throughout the U.S., and around the world. The festival opens with Children’s Day activities on Friday, but the big kickoff event will be on Saturday with a parade through the city — plus musical performances, including soul music, afrobeats, hip-hop, and more all day long. More details and a full schedule of events can be found here. If you’re in the Seattle area, this weekend is an ideal time to bask in some black joy and love!
Tuesday, August 9
New Orleans, Louisiana: Claim the power of creativity at “Love is Lifeforce”: A Writing and Movement Workshop Dedicated to Our Loves and Our Lives.
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
2523 Bayou Rd.
New Orleans, LA 70119
Wildseeds: The New Orleans Octavia Butler Emergent Strategy Collective is a black feminist group that believes in the power of creative writing and art to help bring about social change. As part of a weeklong residency and book launch, celebrated writer and “queer black troublemaker” Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs will facilitate a workshop on claiming love as a source of empowerment. The event is in honor of the late Caribbean-American poet June Jordan, and will feature poetry, movement, sharing, and love. Registration is on a sliding scale of $15 to $25. More information about this workshop and the other events being held during this weeklong residency is available here.
These spaces are by and for black women. If you do not identify as a black woman, please check with the organizers in advance to see if it would be appropriate for you to attend.
Wednesday, August 10
Chicago, Illinois: Build strategies for justice at the Workshop on Black Organizing for Economic Justice and Police Accountability.
5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
728 W. Maxwell St.
Chicago, IL 60607
BYP 100 national director Charlene Carruthers is facilitating a workshop about the inner workings of the movement for justice. She will explore various types of black organizing in Chicago and across the country with a focus on economic justice and police accountability. The workshop is open to anyone in the Chicago area working within social justice movements. Registration is free but required to ensure materials are available for everyone who attends. This is a great opportunity to gain insight and powerful tools from a leader on the forefront of organizing for black lives.
Saturday, August 27
Decatur, Georgia: Come together with young collegiate leaders because It’s Time: A Social Justice and Healing Retreat.
8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
141 E. College Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030
Agnes Scott College is hosting a collegiate retreat to engage students in the Atlanta metro area on issues like police brutality, privilege, and activism. The keynote speaker will be activist and writer Shaun King, known for his support and advocacy for the Black Lives Matter movement. Registration is free for Agnes Scott College students and $10 for those from other colleges and universities. There is a group rate of $80 for student groups of 10 or more (so round up at least nine friends and save yourselves a little money!). Make plans to attend this retreat at the end of August and get yourself informed and organized!
As every day seems to bring news of another black person, woman, and/or queer person lost to violence, it can be easy to lose hope or feel helpless. The truth in this is not that things are getting worse; we’re just seeing these cruel injustices finally being brought out into the clear light of day. Horrifying as it may be, we can fight what we can see. With every name we lift up, with every candle we light, and with every step we take in the march toward justice, we force the world to see and confront the wrongs within our society. And whether that means bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!