Our Determination Will Set Us Free!

On July 5th, Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, was wrestled to the ground and executed by Baton Rouge police officers for selling cds outside of a food mart. One day later, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds captured the murder of her boyfriend Philando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, by Minnesota police on her cell phone and broadcasted it for the world to see via Facebook. Keeping in line with similar patterns, the criminal justice system responded by placing the murderers and executioners on paid administrative leave. The following day, July 7th, another Black man was found dead hanging from a tree. This time it was in Atlanta, Georgia. It was ruled a suicide.

Philando Castile makes the 123rd Black person killed by police this year.  How many videos have we seen of Black women and men being brutally assaulted or killed by police?  Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Tanesha Anderson, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice are just a few. Before Alton, there was Rodney King. Before Rodney King there was Bobby Hutton, Medgar Evers, Emmett Till, not to mention, thousands and thousands of our ancestors who were violently lynched in the Jim Crow South. This cycle of violence enacted against Black people has done nothing but evolve into new names and new forms. Racism is the disease of this country and thanks to social media contributing to the high circulation of public lynchings, we are viewing and consuming racism in its most brutal form.

Our political leaders are missing the point.

Our nation’s leaders are encouraging the public to disarm themselves and are adamantly pushing for more gun laws. Following the mass murder at a queer nightclub in Orlando, FL, Democrats, led […]

July 21st, 2016|

Exploring the Idea of Radical Love

The Black Organizing Project’s Summer Youth Space Internship Program has traditionally been a space to engage our young Black minds within an interactive Black-centered learning environment. Our space kicked off this July 21st right in the heat of summer!  This year, our organizers have the pleasure of working with a group of 19 youth interns who have been submerged in a unique learning experience that will last for six weeks.

Now,  halfway into the program, we reached out to Brandie Bowen, one of the program facilitators, to help highlight exactly what BOP interns have been learning and how the program has been going so far.

“When we created the curriculum we wanted to work on a transformative pedagogy and wanted the kids to leave with a greater consciousness of themselves, each other, and the community,” said Brandie.

With the curriculum set and strong foundation in mind, week one and two of the program focused on community building and bonding, while also recognizing the vision they held of their own communities and why. Together with Lead Organizer and co-facilitator, Jessica Black, Brandie engaged in a variety of interactive activities to help engrain the theme of community to get the juices flowing!

One particular activity, The Radical Love Identity Box Activity, encouraged youth to look into themselves and critically think about the perceptions they have of themselves as well as the perceptions others have of them.

“The main purpose was to explore radical love. First, we talked about what radical means and  decided that it means going to the root or true nature,” said Brandie. “ We then combined that idea with love– so the idea behind the identity box is to explore the truest nature of ourselves, loving it– in hopes […]

July 19th, 2016|

Baby BOP: Leadership at Any Age

It’s that time of year again!

Baby BOP is back and this year’s theme, “Leadership at Any Age,” is our renewed commitment to provide Oakland’s Black youth, ages 6-11, with community organizing and leadership skills. It is our hope that through the creation of educational, supportive, and creative spaces that our Black youth will realize their full potential and be a resource in their communities.

It is not a secret that there is an entire system set out to limit and restrict their light and potential. This is why it is imperative that we create spaces where our youth can feel empowered, affirmed, and held. It is our intention to create a safe and nurturing space for our youth where they can learn the basic skills they need to thrive and grow.

Starting July 9th, Baby BOP will be held on every 2nd Saturday of the month  and we will close out the program with a Graduation/Recognition Ceremony which will be held in December.

Our vision is to expose our youth to the social, cultural, and political conditions happening in Oakland, help them make broader connections, think critically, and finally, how to use this knowledge to help empower themselves and their communities.
“…we need a r/evolution of the mind. we need a r/evolution of the heart. we need a r/evolution of the spirit. the power of the people is stronger than any weapon. a people’s r/evolution can’t be stopped. we need to be weapons of mass construction. weapons of mass love. it’s not enough just to change the system. we need to change ourselves. we have got to make this world user friendly. user friendly.”

July 19th, 2016|

Developing Black Organizers and Moving the Ground

Since our founding in 2009, BOP has had a strong commitment to develop Black organizers.  Before initiating the project, we had conversations with organizations across the country and heard a consistent challenge in recruiting, hiring and retaining Black organizers.  We found that some of the  contributing factors to the lack, and overall absence of Black organizing included: lack of access to organizing training– especially for working class families who couldn’t take significant unpaid or low-paid time away from work, the absence of accessible specialized Black organizing training, gaps in Black-led Black organizations that could support organizers to work within their community and an overall lack of resources allocated  for Black-led organizations or Black organizing in general.  As we developed into a project and eventually into an organization, we decided that we needed to contribute to a larger Black movement and be a vehicle for developing Black leadership and Black organizing.

This is not easy work.

Still, even now, there is a critical need for more Black organizers who can organize and develop leadership within the Black community. Truth is, it takes more than just doing outreach, mobilizing people, encouraging community engagement or gathering input.  Developing organizers to do the hard yet authentic work of really listening to people, really seeing people and really connecting them to a collective group with a collective vision, takes an incredible amount of time and persistence. There is an immense amount of love and humility that is required for this kind of work. No matter how much an organizer has learned about writing a good rap, keeping good tracking systems and doing swift follow up–  although important—  the heart that you need for this work cannot be substituted.

The issues we are addressing […]

June 20th, 2016|

There is no true winning, if you are not winning with the people

For the last seven years, BOP has made it our mission to get to the heart of the issues impacting our communities. Specifically, through our Bettering Our School System campaign (B.O.S.S), we’ve been able to challenge policing and discipline practices within the Oakland Unified School District that not only target, but criminalize Black youth.  As a result of those campaign efforts, collectively, we have created solutions that alter school climate, culture, and the overall police presence in Oakland schools. None of this would have been possible without the students, parents, and community members leading the vision and who continue to fight for not just policy change, but a cultural transformation. We believe without a doubt that, “there is no winning if you are not winning with the people.”

The Black Organizing Project (BOP), is a Black member-led community organization working for the  empowerment of Oakland’s Black community. What exactly does that mean? It means that BOP members are leading our fight for racial, social, and economic justice. It also means that we are committed to investing in Black people and developing both individual and collective leadership skills.  How do we do this ? BOP’s Organizer in Training (OIT), and NIA internship programs create a pathway into organizing for active members. These internship programs provide an opportunity for leaders to learn organizing skills within a political framework with a foundation of healing, that is values driven, Black centered, and of course culture flavored.

Through those internships this year we’ve had the amazing chance to work with Juanita Taylor, our NIA intern and Ni’Keah Manning our Organizer in Training. These two awesome freedom-fighters have inspired us all with their dedication, conviction, revolutionary spirit and love for our people.

We sat […]

May 24th, 2016|

Check Out Our Youth Space Summer Internship!

Black Organizing Project is hosting our 2016 Youth Space Summer Leadership Development Internship for youth ages 12 – 18. The internship will be held from  June 21, 2016 – July 30, 2016 in which all of our youth interns will be paid a stipend.

At BOP, we believe in investing in our youth. Through this internship we are striving to build stronger unity within the Black community, by developing leadership skills and the capacity of youth voices. We will engage in fun, interactive activities, learn new skills and reflect on how to bring resources back to our larger community. We expect all qualified members to actively participate and engage in all workshops and all group building activities. Some of the workshops include:

Community Organizing
Leadership Development
Political Education
Black Economics
Healing Circles

All qualified applicants are expected and required to participate in an interview process. If accepted, a BOP member will contact you to inform you of your acceptance into the program. Upon acceptance, there will be a mandatory orientation for both parents/guardians and youth interns. The orientation date will be Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 11am – 1pm. If you are unable to make this date, please communicate ahead of time and a BOP staff member will coordinate with you.

For an application, please reach out to Jessica Black (510) 545-2862 jessica@blackorganizingproject.org or Ni’Keah Manning (510) 788-0248 nikeah@blackorganizingproject.org.

Once you receive an application, please fill out the entire application form and have your parent/guardian sign your permission slips. We need this information as soon as possible. You can bring your signed permission slip to the BOP Office. If you have any further questions, please feel free to call Jessica or Ni’Keah for more information. All forms must be signed and turned in before Friday, June 10th, 2016. If you […]

May 10th, 2016|

#BLM Conference in Cleveland

On July 24th-26th five of our BOP members and staff went to the first national convening for the Movement for Black Lives...

October 2nd, 2015|

Back to School: We Cannot Rest

When we began the Bettering Our School System (BOSS) campaign, even on the heels of several murders by Oakland policing organizations, there was strong opposition to moving police out of schools. While some people were comfortable addressing Black male achievement and even acknowledging disparities in suspensions, not many people were willing to have critical conversations about criminalization of Black youth and the role of policing in schools...

October 2nd, 2015|

Announcing Graduates of BOP’s 2015 Summer Program

Over the summer BOP partnered with the YOLO program at McClymonds high school to host our summer youth program themed Liberated Communities.

October 2nd, 2015|

Announcing BOP 2015 Summer Programs & Workshops

Learn more about what BOP's doing this summer!

June 12th, 2015|