Patrisse Cullors on What's at Stake—#Roots2Liberation

The Ella Baker Center's 20th anniversary event is coming up in less than a week! During our celebration, From Revolutionary Roots to Liberated Futures, Patrisse Cullors will participate in a panel with Eva Paterson and Bryan Stevenson moderated by W. Kamau Bell. 

In addition to being an artist, an activist, and one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse also works with the Ella Baker Center to develop the Justice Teams, a rapid response network across California that will mobilize communities to respond to law enforcement violence and fight for reinvestment in needed resources. 

Watch this video sharing our vision for the #JusticeTeams:

Patrisse has worked for years to organize against police violence and prisons, and to heal communities. The organization that she founded in Los Angeles, Dignity and Power Now, won a major victory this year when Los Angeles formed its first civilian oversight commission over the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 

During the panel at our event, Patrisse will discuss how we can acknowledge our country's history of racial injustices and what reparations mean right now. Read below to see what Patrisse is excited about in the movement right now, and her vision for the Justice Teams:

What is at stake right now? Why is this an important moment for the movement?

We have an opportunity to transform conditions for poor people, black people, marginalized people. I see this moment as an opportunity because people across the globe are rising up and saying enough is enough. People are tired of business as usual, people are tired of the impacts of poverty and racism and patriarchy, and folks have taken action in a way that we haven’t seen in multiple decades. Our work as organizers is to amplify, to encourage, and to support what is really a phenomenon that has allowed for a new conversation around the value of black life, around the value of undocumented communities, around the value of indigenous people. Our moment has really shaped a new generational conversation.

What’s your vision for the Justice Teams?

The Justice Teams are really a new way of developing community supports. It is a model that allows for us to respond rapidly to state violence while also building alternatives to policing and incarceration. It’s a push for us to really go back to the ways of being with our neighbors, being with our communities. The Justice Teams come from the idea that we don’t watch our neighbors, we see them. It comes from the idea that we are able to develop a new narrative around what’s necessary inside of the community. The community has resources built into that that just need to be facilitated and honed and developed.

I want the Justice Teams to live beyond any nonprofit structure. The goal is that the Justice Teams build the infrastructure of the community, not take away from it.

The 20th anniversary is about celebrating our history but also looking ahead to our future. What are you most excited for when you think about the next 20 years?

I’m excited about building new black leaders, the idea of new campaigns that really challenge the investment in the police state and really provide  a new way forward and a relationship to reinvesting in poor communities and black communities in particular.

Hear Patrisse in conversation with Kamau, Bryan, and Eva during our 20th anniversary event, From Revolutionary Roots to Liberated Futures, on September 8th in Oakland. Tickets are almost sold out—buy yours today!