Saturday, June 6, in a wide-ranging, powerful conversation, Mary Hooks, Director, Southerners on New Ground (S.O.N.G.); Kandace Montgomery, Director, Organizers with Black Visions; and Miski Noor, Organizer, Organizers with Black Visions, joined Kirsten West Savali, Executive Producer, ESSENCE, to discuss what it means to defund police and defend Black lives.

Montgomery and Noor joined us live from the uprising in Minnesota, while Hooks joined us from Georgia. The dynamic organizers not only discussed defunding the police, but also white supremacy being a party crasher, agents infiltrating the movement, why we must lift up Black women and Black trans folks when we talk about defending all Black lives, why Donald Trump most resign, and more.

Earlier this week, ESSENCE announced that we stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives to amplify the organization’s work for the liberation of Black people, including their Week of Action which concluded Friday.

Minneapolis Uprising — The community and comrades take to the streets in support of George Floyd (N. Musinguzi / nmusinguzi.com)

M4BL’s demands are clear:

We demand the rights of protestors be respected.

We demand a divestment from police and investment in Black communities.

We demand immediate relief for our communities.

We demand community control.

We demand an end to the war on Black people.

“The Black press plays a critical role in framing and amplifying the power building efforts of social movements,” Fresco Steez, digital strategist for Movement for Black Lives, says. “The collaboration between ESSENCE and Movement for Black Lives illustrates a powerful collaboration to educate, politicize and move people to take action to defend Black lives.”

Check out the discussion above and stay tuned for more M4BL x ESSENCE conversations.

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