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 or Ni’Keah Manning (510) 788-0248

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|

Our Story of Eliminating Willful Defiance in Oakland

Wednesday night the Oakland Unified School Board voted unanimously on a policy to end suspensions and involuntary transfers for “willful defiance and disruption” as of July 1, 2016. This is a huge victory, but the fight for better Oakland schools is not over.

May 15th, 2015|

StoryBuilders Visit New Orleans- What’s Happening 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina

[VIDEO] In April, BOP staff, members and StoryBuilder interns traveled to New Orleans to explore the impact that Hurricane Katrina has had on the city. We were particularly interested in hearing from community about the intersection of mass incarceration in education and what the Black community has to say about how things have changed in New Orleans since the hurricane. Watch here!

May 8th, 2015|

StoryBuilders Short Films

Our StoryBuilder interns Kayla Humphreys and Ciara Smith produced these short films to tell their stories of the Black student experience in Oakland.

May 8th, 2015|