"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside" - Maya Angelou
The Black Organizing Project (BOP) was founded in 2009 in response to the lack of prioritization of Black people in organizing spaces. We started to build Black community power, and develop leaders in Oakland and across the Bay Area. Before this recent increase of mass organizing of Black people captured the hearts and minds of the world, BOP and other grassroots organizations dared to dream, and push for change that to many felt out of reach. In the spirit of our ancestors, and the many lives and leaders that made sacrifices before us, BOP emerged as a vehicle for change. In 2009, Black communities across the country were experiencing intense highs and lows — mourning the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina, celebrating our first Black president and witnessing the tragic killing of Oscar Grant by Bay Area Transit (BART) Police. BOP took to the streets and listened to our community to hear what issues were most important, and to ensure that the most impacted were truly driving the work. What started as a project soon became a place of refuge for many, a place where Black people came together to learn, organize, work, and love on each other.
Our story is one of resilience and, one that if not told by us, might never be told. For centuries, Black folks have told stories as a way to stay connected, pass down traditions and lessons, and to heal. There is power in our stories, and power in taking the narrative back from the many false stories that are used to manipulate minds and dehumanize us. Telling our story is a way that we reclaim our power, push against old frameworks, and create real change. Telling our stories free us, inspire others, and give us determination to win.
Timeline of Transformation
A Look at BOP’s Campaign to Abolish Police in Oakland Schools