Just moments after Marilyn Mosby announced charges against the six police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, one of three co-founders of the liberation movement Black Lives Matter discussed the recent unrest in Baltimore, likening it to the 2010 massive protests against state violence in Egypt, Libya and other regions dubbed “Arab Spring.”
But Baltimore’s protests, often categorized as violence or riots without context, are America’s “Black Spring,” Alicia Garza explained.
So what is Black Spring? Against a backdrop of heavily armed National Guard troops and armored vehicles, Garza broke it down for NewsOne.
“What we know is that there is a Black Spring that is emerging where communities that have been under the boot of police terrorism, communities that have been attacked by poverty and unemployment are rising up, coming together and advancing new solutions and new visions and new demands to create a new world where Black peoples’ lives matter,” Garza said.
Gesturing towards the guardsmen occupying the city during Baltimore’s week-long state of emergency, Garza suggested that their very presence was state violence in action.
“[The National Guard] are standing between Black people and access to resources, they are protecting property rather than protecting the very people that make this city beautiful,” she told NewsOne.
“That is why this is a Black Spring because, quite frankly, communities who have been under the boot of occupying forces like the military and the local police force are rising up and saying ‘we’ve had enough.'”
“That is being led by young people, that is being led by women even though you may not be seeing that on television,” she added. “If we want justice for Freddie Gray, we also understand that we need to make sure people have access to food, we need to make sure people have access to quality education, we need to make sure that occupying forces leave Black communities and allow Black communities to thrive on our own terms.”
Garza, who traveled to Baltimore to support local organizations in “developing the movement growing here in Baltimore and increasingly the movement that is growing across the country,” is just one of the many women heading what is arguably the largest Black liberation movement in recent history. She, along with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, created #BlackLivesMatter in 2012 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Citing Black women making changes in the movement, Garza also discussed what it meant for her to see Mosby, also a Black woman, hand down the charges for the officers involved in Gray’s death.
“As a Black woman, I can say that I felt personally that that sister was opening a door for young people here to advance a new set of demands that changes the landscape here in Baltimore,” she told NewsOne.
Check out NewsOne’s exclusive interview above and visit the #BlackSpring hashtag to learn more about Baltimore’s uprising.