We speak with organizers Monifa Bandele and Kali Akuno about the history and purpose of Black August.
Black August originated in the concentration camps (prisons) of California in 1979 and its’ roots come from that history of resistance by Black/New African/African brothers in those prisons. It’s original and unchanging purpose is to: Honor and commemorate the lives and deaths of several fallen Freedom Fighters.
Monifa Bandele is the Vice President & Chief Partnership and Equity Officer at MomsRising.org. She has more than a decade of experience in policy analysis, communications, civic engagement organizing, and project management working with groups like the Brennan Center for Justice, Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund, and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. At MomsRising.org she manages the food justice campaign, helping to successfully increase children’s access to healthy food and working to stem junk food marketing. Forbes has named MomsRising.org one of the top websites for women four years in a row. During her tenure at the Brennan Center as national field director for the Right to Vote Campaign, the coalition successfully changed laws in five state expanding the franchise to more that 250,000 formerly incarcerated people.
Kali Akuno is a co-founder and co-director of Cooperation Jackson and co-editor of Jackson Rising: the struggle for economic democracy and black self-determination in Jackson, Mississippi. Kali served as the Director of Special Projects and External Funding in the Mayoral Administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, MS. His focus in this role was supporting cooperative development, the introduction of eco-friendly and carbon reduction methods of operation, and the promotion of human rights and international relations for the city.
photo: Hennie Stander via Unsplash