- by Maisha Auma
Good Evening. It is so good to see all your beautiful faces tonight. Thank You so much for coming out. My Name is Maisha Auma, I am from the organisation Generation Adefra, Black Women in Germany.
I would like to begin by thanking the organizers of this march for their hard work and their dedication. Lets show them some love. Thank you so much. This is the second Black Lives Matter Berlin March. Thank you to the organizers of the First March as well, which was held here two weeks ago.
I would like to say three things very shortly:
Let me begin by remembering the initiation of The Black Lives Matter Movement, which was on July 13th of 2013 (almost exactly three years ago) directly after the murderer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was not held accountable by a Florida Court. I was online at that very moment. I remember the outpouring of grief coming out through all channels of Black Life. I remember the shock and the numbness that followed it.
It was at this very moment that Alicia Garza, like the rest of us Black Folks, filled with grief and disbelief, took to Facebook, and posted a statement. This is how she concluded her statement:
"Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter, Black Lives Matter".
Patrisse Cullors shared this statement, in turn communicating her grief and love and her compassion for all of our losses, using the Hashtag #BlackLivesMatter for the first time. Following this Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Opal Tometi, all at this point already deeply embedded in Black Community Activism, went on to create the Spark for this Movement, which we now know as „The Black Lives Matter Movement“.
These are three Black Women! Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Opal Tometi are three Queer Black Women. Their Community Care, their Commitment and their Dedication to Blackness, is deeply informed by their intersectional Struggles. We must stop erasing that! We must stop erasing crucial parts of Ours and Each others Lives!
If any of Us Black Folks is not free, then we are all not free.
As intersectional Black projects such as the BYP Black Youth Project 100 emphasize:
Our Lives are Intersectional, Our Struggles are connected.
If any of us is not free, we are all not free!
The Second thing I would Like to say is that Alicia Garza named her first Post – her response to the horror of the trial of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, she called it: “A Love Note to Black People.” I would like to say something about the Power of Loving Blackness. You are here (and I am now speaking to the Black Folks present) because you dare to love your own Blackness, despite basically everything! Junot Diaz calls this Decolonial Love. Finding the strength within ourselves to love our Broken-By-The-Power-of-Coloniality-Selves and to reach out and dare to love other Broken-By-The-Power-of-Coloniality-People, this is Decolonial Love! So I wish us all Decolonial Love, in all it’s many, many, many shapes and forms, Love for our Black Siblings, Love for our Black Children, Love for our Black Besties, Love for our Black Squads, our Black Posses, CommunityLove! Power to all you Decolonial Lovers! This is how we recover from the daily devastation and dehumanization we are forced to re-live over and over and over and over and over and over again.
And finally, the last thing I would like to say today, is inspired by one of my favorite Interviews. It is called to be Fierce and Vulnerable at the same time. It is inspired by a conversation between two fierce and vulnerable Black Women Acitivists, the Somali-Kenyan-British Poet Warsan Shire and Brooklyn based Educator and Artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed.
How do we do that, how do we stay fierce and accept and work with our vulnerability at the same time? How to we survive and show Community Care in times of Black Suffering but also of Black Resilience? How do we stay connected in the face of continuous dehumanization. It reminds me of the saying: „They tried to bury us, but they did not know we were Seeds.“ So how do we then become seeds?
It is important to me to state, as an activist, a black feminist who has been active in Generation Adefra, Black Women in Germany for over 20 years now, that to build community, we must be able to give us much as we take! We have to learn to hold a balance between giving and taking. We are all bruised. We are all fragile, but we are also all resilient at the same time, fierce! We cannot come into Movements with the hopes that they will fix us. We come together to create Spaces, where we are not alone, in figuring out how to fix ourselves.
The three founders of the Black Lives Movement call this Movement more of a Network, than a Movement. It is an important emphasis indeed. I like the idea of a fluid Leadership. A Leadership that takes into account that we are all vulnerable, that we never hold all the answers. I like the idea that good Leaders do not create followers. Good Leaders create other Leaders. We all lead and follow at the same time in different spheres of life. The idea of fierceness and vulnerability lays emphasis on the balance between giving and taking and ultimately of taking responsibility. I am hopeful, that this Movement will birth such fluid Leaders.
We are here to let the world know that we want Equality!
We demand Equal Safety. We demand Equal Protection.
To all you beautiful Black Folks out here tonight
Thank you for your grace and resilience.
Thank you for your creativity and vibrance.
Thank you for surviving and thriving
And thank you for spreading Black Joy in Berlin!
We See You. Your Lives Matter. We Matter. Stay Strong and Shine On!
Maureen Maisha Auma, Berlin 25th July 2016