Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Female activists panel speaks on origins of activism

    Saying “black lives matter” doesn’t mean all lives don’t matter, and implies that liberation for one race is liberation for all races. A panel of women imbued with the desire to serve others spoke on this topic Mar. 9, before Laney College English and Ethnic Studies students. 
    The women on the panel were Cat Brooks, Asantewaa Boykin and Ashley Yates. These women are co-founders of the Anti-Police Terror Project (APTP) and significant organizers in the Black Lives Matter movement, whose mission is to eradicate police terror in communities of color. 
    Brooks is a Las Vegas native who at an early age found her voice as a young actress and a writer. Her teachings came from her mother, who was also an organizer working tirelessly with the domestic violence movement on the Indian reservations in Las Vegas. Brooks joined the fight for Oscar Grant in 2009 and organized a communication strategy while leading several demonstrations. 
    Meanwhile, Boykin is a registered nurse, poet and designer. Her work as an activist began in her early 20›s with a Feed the People Movement in her hometown of San Diego. In 2008 Boykin moved to the bay area to join the movement in support of Oscar Grant. She dedicated her time, energy and creativity to creating a culture of resistance through her poetry and social justice visual campaigns. She is sergeant-at-arms of the ONYX Organizing Committee whose purpose is to “end the war on black lives.” 
    Yates is an artist, organizer and writer from Florissant, MO. After the killing of Michael Brown in her hometown, Yates found herself emerged in a mass protest. “This was the first time I had ever been tear gas,” Yates said. “On the streets where I lived, shopped, got my hair and nails done. 
    “To have an act of terror happen simply because we wanted to know what was happening. I just want to know why my city was going up in flames.” From then on Yates became an active organizer in Ferguson and stepped into leadership. 
    For the last two years, APTP has successfully called for 96 hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend which culminates in the reclaiming King’s legacy by bringing thousands into the streets. 
    In their respective roles, these women call themselves unconventional leaders. Brooks’ points out the Black Panthers Organization encompassed a large percentage of unconventional leaders. One of the major differences in the sixties that do exist today is social media. Social media is an excellent tool to getting people involved in the movement for change. 
    A student in the audience asked. “How can I make a difference when I am not person who likes to go out and protest?” 
    “Everyone has a role, we need people, and artist, speakers, cooks, babysitters, and anyone can get involved. No one can do what you do,” Brooks said. 
    The West African word “Assata” is foremost in the mindset of these activists. Assata means a testament to the power and responsibility of human beings to transform what seems impenetrable and realize the wholeness of our liberation on all levels. 
    For more information on the APTP or Black Lives Matter Movement, contact www.antipoliceterrorproject.org.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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