The Black Lives Matter co-founders have announced new projects and direction for the organization's global network. Among the transitions within leadership, co-founder Alicia Garza announced her new initiative called The Black Futures Lab.
According to a press release submitted to Blavity, co-founders Garza and Opal Tometi will discontinue their day-to-day operations with BLM to focus on other impactful projects. Tometi is the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), and Garza's Black Futures Lab is aimed at building political power for black communities. The initiative was launched in partnership with Demos, Color of Change, Center for Third World Organizing, Socioanalitica Research and the Tides Foundation, a press release for the launch stated.
It’s finally here! For almost the last year me and the squad at the @blackfutureslab have been cooking up some projects that we think will help build independent, progressive Black political power. Our first project? The #BlackCensus. We are talking to 200k black people about our experiences, hopes and dreams, so that no more decisions about us are made without us. Will you join us? #MyCensusIsBlack #MyFutureIsBlack
"If we’ve learned anything from this past election, it’s that Black folks drive the progressive political power in this country, but rarely benefit from the fruits of our labor," Garza said in the release. "Today, we are launching the Black Futures Lab as a way to mobilize around our needs, hopes and dreams. For too long, people have spoken for us and perpetuated false representations of the issues that drive our votes.”
The first initiative under The Black Futures Lab will be a national data collection effort called the Black Census Project. The project will survey 200,000 black people from various communities in 20 states. The idea is to get a sense of the pressing issues directly affecting diverse black communities throughout America. The survey will collect information on issues affecting black communities including mass incarceration, police violence and economic equality.
"We want to know what you care about and we want to hear your dreams…" the project description states in part on its website.
In order to execute the survey, the Black Census Project will train 100 black organizers across the country to knock on doors and survey people in-person.
In an interview with Mic, Garza said the project is a "historical moment."
"We are really excited about what we feel is a really historical moment,” Garza told Mic. “We are trying to break the mold, so that we can shape agendas that really respond to the conditions in our communities.”
The Black Census Project only works if we get 200,000 people to fill it out! Share with every Black person you know! (There's even some cool swag coming…): https://t.co/6ICtflK78K
— Alicia Garza (@aliciagarza) February 26, 2018
The online survey will be available through August, and the data will be revealed at the end of 2018, the release stated. The information is aimed at helping "organizers better understand how to build and mobilize Black power within their communities and nationally," the release read.
"We can’t say [that] what black people in Oakland [California] are experiencing is the same thing that black people are experiencing in Jackson, Mississippi,” Garza told Mic. “Black communities are incredibly complex and not to the stereotype of what people have said they are.”