Activist Keiajah Brooks, Who Read Kansas City Police Board For Filth, Says Calling People Out Is Her 'Main Hobby'
The activist said she was surprised the video of her calling out commissioners went viral because holding people accountable is part of her regular routine.
November 19, 2020 at 4:50 pm
Her opening statement that she was "not nice" and doesn't "seek to be respectable" set the perfect tone as Brooks would go on to verbally eviscerate several figures in the room and demand accountability.
"You age like trash when you're racist and subject others to violence," she said before speaking directly to those she would condemn.
In an interview with Blavity, the 20-year-old activist and community leader said she personalized her remarks to board members because they have been able to dodge accountability as members of the faceless Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners.
"I just wanted to call the individuals out. More often than not, we refer to these oppressive systems rather generally than individually. These systems are made up of individuals," she said. "And we need to start holding the individuals accountable for maintaining white supremacy."
The video was viewed millions of times and drew plaudits from across the internet.
"I believe I’ve made the Black community very proud," she said of her viralcy. "Mainly black people recognize me but they always tell me how proud they are of me and to keep fighting, so I do. I was mainly awestruck that it went viral as calling people out is a main hobby of mine."
But she said it's also put a target on her back.
Brooks said she was forced to hire security after getting death threats and sharing videos of police officers repeatedly tailing her.
Despite the backlash, Brooks brought a national spotlight onto the problems facing the Black community in Kansas City. Police Chief Rick Smith has refused to resign from his position despite facing months of withering criticism for the violence his officers perpetrate against the city's Black community, according to The Kansas City Star.
Dozens of horrific incidents in the area have led to widespread protests but the one that has caused the most outrage is the violent arrest of a pregnant Black woman. A white officer kneeled on the woman's back as he arrested her in October, sparking citywide demonstrations.
Kansas City also has one of the country's highest rates of police killings, according to Mapping Police Violence, and has been reeling from the recent police killings of Terrance Bridges, Ryan Stokes, Donnie Sanders and others.
Brooks told Blavity that she hoped people were becoming more politically active in light of recent events and that their political activism extended to all Black people.
"Politically educate and prepare yourself to show up for ALL black people— queer, disabled, sex workers, etc. We are ALL in danger and you shouldn’t cherry-pick who you care about," she said.
Brooks is also co-founder of Tha Chingona Collective, an inclusive and intersectional organization founded by Black, Indigenous and Latinx women.
"We are steeped in activism, political education, community organizing, and social events with specialization in issues that plague our communities in KC directly," the group said in a now-deleted Facebook post.
Allow us to re-introduce ourselves. We are THA Chingona Collective of KC. The word “chingona” is spanish slang for a...Posted by Tha Chingona Collective on Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Brooks explained that the group is aiming to "drive systemic changes and liberate Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people, specifically female-identifying and non-binary people in our communities."
"We will launch our ‘Chingona Cop Watch’ programme shortly. A lot of people in Kansas City recognize me from 'cop stops,' where I watch and record the interactions of police and Black Kansas Citians when I have the chance to," she said. "We are hoping to raise enough funds to be able to pay BIPOC people to monitor traffic stops while also in cute neon pink vests."
The 20-year-old was an active part of the city's protests this summer as global protests over the killing of George Floyd erupted in cities across the world. She received a Civil and Human Rights Award from the Urban League, SCLC, NAACP, and other organizations for her activism in Kansas City.
"I believe I’ve made the black community very proud. Mainly black people recognize me but they always tell me how proud they are of me and to keep fighting, so I do. I was mainly awestruck that it went viral as calling people out is a main hobby of mine," Brooks said.
"I never say never because you never know what could happen but I could see myself going into politics," she continued. "If the powers that control it, don’t shut me out."