This is the weekly column written by Blavity:Politics Senior Editor Kandist Mallett.
Seeing something wrong in the world and having the follow through to try and do something about it is probably one of the bravest things a person can do. Being an activist isn’t about adding a label to your Twitter bio or about posing in a picture with your fist up. Being an activist is about committing to change for those in your community.
This work often goes unseen and unawarded, but it’s still worth the effort. The work of an activist has the power to shift the wrongs in the world by trying to make them right. This is why activists are dangerous, and why those who push for something different often die too young.
Over the last few weeks, Black activist across the country have been mourning those they cherish death. The body of Amber Evans was found in an Ohio river, Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed in the middle of the community he was working to revive, and the police killed Atlanta based activist Oscar Cain.
While we don't know for sure whether or not they were killed for their activism, it is necessary to note that their blackness and desire to fuel change was a common link between them.
Amber Evans a prominent activist in Columbus, Ohio body was found in the Ohio River two months after she was declared missing. She was only 28 years old when she died. Evans was an activist, a journalist, and an alumna of Ohio State University. According to The Lantern, Ohio State's student-run newspaper, Evans was one of the founders of the Ohio Student Association.
The Lantern also notes that Evans’ most recent work was around juvenile detention. Some believe that it was her work that led to police exerting little effort to find her when she first went missing on January 28 of this year. It is still unclear how Evans died, The Grio reported that the police said that, "it was unclear exactly how or when she wound up in the river and have not disclosed whether or not they suspect foul play."
While it is alleged that Hussle's death was caused by someone he knew, others speculate whether or not his role in his community played a part. These people point to the fact that he was working to improve gang relations in Los Angeles.
The LAPD would lock up gang members, impound their cars and then use said car to do drive-bys on rival gang members. Just to keep beef going. https://t.co/7TelcEGDCh— brandy (@BtSquared2) April 1, 2019
In a piece written in the Atlantic, Jemele Hill wrote that "Wasting time furthering conspiracy theories is only a distraction from unpacking why so many African-American boys and men are victimized by violence, or see it as the only way to resolve conflict."
As our community grapples with why such a heinous thing would occur to someone who had such a positive impact, it's important to remember that anti-Blackness places a key part in each one of their deaths. That is the biggest conspiracy.
This past Sunday, Atlanta based Ferguson activist Oscar Cain was killed by an Atlanta cop after a foot chase. Cain joins a growing list of activists with ties to the Ferguson uprising who have since died.
Those who were outraged by the news took to Twitter to use the #OscarCain tag to speak out against deaths of Black activists and to remember his work within the community.
An activist from the Atlanta racial justice community— MY community— was murdered by the police as he was running away this week. I sat next to this man on panels, I schooled this man on gender and sexuality. I’m just.... y’all I’m TIRED. #OscarCain #shutitdownATL pic.twitter.com/QWckWb88po— Aurielle Marie (@YesAurielle) April 5, 2019
The police claim that Oscar was ignoring orders to stop and was running away when the police shot him. But, as we know, the police sometimes lie. Questioning their record of events is important whenever a Black person’s death is involved. Especially when that Black person was actively protesting against the police.
As we remember these people for the work that they did, let's be reminded of the importance of caring for those who do the work that is so desperately needed for our people.