Black Futures Month is a visionary, forward-looking spin on celebrations of Blackness in February. The Movement for Black Lives is using this time to consider and celebrate our radical Black history; to dream and imagine a world in which we are all free and self-determined; and to map and illustrate a world in which all Black lives matter.

We do all of this by telling new stories representing our vision of society; by abolishing harmful and violent institutions and replacing them with a new vision of society that invests in people and community; and by loving ourselves and each other, and basking in our excellence.

During Black Futures Month, and always, we center Black, queer, and transfeminist perspectives. Black queer and trans people have long been at the forefront of dreaming, visioning, and expanding what is possible for our movements. It is our duty to affirm, celebrate, and defend all Black lives. 

This month, M4BL is excited to uplift local organizers and organizations, and to tell exciting stories of resistance and joy —stories that will unlock our future. So, without further ado, we’re excited to share our Local Power Initiative.

M4BL’s Local Power Initiative is a five-year strategy that uses community organizing, electoral justice, base-building, and storytelling to build long-term power for Black communities. The initiative is central to realizing M4BL’s Vision for Black Lives and to taking our organizing work to the next phase.

From uprisings led by enslaved people to today’s mass protests, social movements like the movement in defense of Black lives are formed by local communities coming together to engage in action on the basis of shared ideals.  

In 15 cities across the U.S., M4BL’s Local Power Initiative is establishing autonomous Black communities—communities where Black people have governing and distributive power to create, shape, influence, and set political agendas. These M4BL-member organizations use Black queer feminist, abolitionist, and anti-capitalist politics to dismantle oppressive systems of violence and rebuild our communities with our well-being in mind. Each region faces unique experiences of state domination and control, and requires a unique approach to organizing and building power, but they share five interconnected strategies: 

  1. Build functioning Black alternative infrastructures and systems
  2. Weaken the power of the carceral state
  3. Build effective Black-led coalitions
  4. Develop strong local engagement
  5. Keep an eye toward a statewide strategy

With these strategies in guiding our work, our Local Power sites will be able to significantly mitigate harm to our communities and strengthen our political, economic, and cultural power.

Now, let’s hear from local organizers about how their work builds the beautiful Black future of our dreams.

Holden Cession 
NC B.L.O.C
(North Carolina Black Leadership & Organizing Collective)

The future of Black people is something that looks like so many things all at the same time.

You know, there is this idealistic grandiose future for Black folks.

And I really think about, you know, a future where we are are practicing safety on our own terms; a future where we are naming ourselves for ourselves on our own terms. A future where we are in a relationship to land that connects us to one another.

I see a future where we are sovereign over our own education over our own ways in which we choose to build family.

Yeah, I see a Black future full of Black families.

Penelope French
In Defense of Black Lives Atlanta

I see a Black future that is Black
in the sense of it is named. It is built.
It is supported. It is united.

It is expressed by Black people as a future
where Black people are living in the fullness of
their identity, of our identity for my people.

It’s not that I wish for equality.
It’s not that I wish for equity.

It is that I wish for them to see
themselves.

These things that are happening to us are
allowing us to be determined to be self
determined Black people who see themselves
and are moving in their power, not in what
people say, but in what we say.

That is the 2045 that I see and it is bright and it is beautiful.

We envision a society in which we can thrive and live freely. Black people have been a brave, brilliant, driving force pushing toward collective liberation and our Local Power sites are a continuation of that lineage as they continue to strengthen our political, economic, and cultural power. 

Local power has been especially critical when it comes to improving the rights of workers and the future of labor. Capitalism shapes our experiences and quality of life, and the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated poor working conditions whereby the capitalist class prioritizes capital over health, social prosperity, and wellness. Throughout history, our movements have battled against exploitative labor practices and violence perpetrated through capitalism and colonialism. Under these systems, birthed from white supremacy, labor is violence. Black people are treated as disposable, but we are the backbone of this country. We worked to build and maintain this country, even and especially on the frontlines of COVID-19. As companies and governments center profit rather than people, our movement continues to fight for dignified employment, safe working conditions, and fair wages. 

In 2021, we launched our first short Afrofuturist film, produced in partnership with Root Story Films, that imagines a future when all Black people will be free; 2022 is no different. So, if you haven’t seen it, check it out right here, right now:

Black Futures Month celebrates Black people, art, culture, joy, and organizing in service to our bold vision for Black liberation.

The Black experience is rife with ingenuity, experimentation, success, and the fight for self-sufficiency. The stories told about Black people by the media don’t reflect the boundless offerings our communities have made that enrich and expand the notion of what it means to be human. Through art, ideas, food, discourse, and dissent, we have shaped the contours of an America deserved of Black people.

With a bold vision and our hands on the freedom plow, we are erecting a world in which all Black lives matter. We do this by telling new stories that illustrate our vision of society; by abolishing harmful and violent institutions and replacing them with a new vision of society that invests in people and community; and by loving ourselves and each other and basking in our excellence.

During Black Futures Month, and always, we center Black, queer, and transfeminist perspectives. Black queer and trans people have long been at the forefront of dreaming, visioning, and expanding what is possible for our movements. It is our duty to affirm, celebrate, and defend all Black lives. 

This Black Future’s Month let’s give ourselves the freedom and permission to follow our radical imaginations and visualize the world we deserve because in order to realize a society in which we have healthcare for all, a meaningful wage, self-determination, and true freedom, we have to first imagine it!

Text FUTURE to 90975
and learn, organize,
and take action for Black liberation.
Watch and share
the Afrofuturist film that
imagines a future when all
Black people will be free.
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