The #LetUsBreathe Collective aims to harness creative capital and cultural production to deconstruct systemic injustice in America and worldwide. A grassroots alliance of artists, journalists, and activists, we use our talents to amplify marginalized voices, disrupt the status quo, offer opportunities for healing and education, and provoke critical thought and dialogue about the intersections of oppression through film, music, theater, poetry, and civil disobedience.
In 2014, the Collective formed as a fundraising initiative to bring tear gas protection and remedies, medical and hygiene supplies, and water bottles to Ferguson protesters. An alliance of poets, playwrights, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers launched an ongoing series of donation deliveries to support the frontline resistance. During these supply trips, #LetUsBreathe teamed up with Lost Voices, a group of Ferguson youth who formed an encampment in resistance to the suppression of Missouri police, and vowed to occupy the protest area until Darren Wilson was indicted. They camped out for 47 days, feeding the community, hosting dialogues, and marching daily at 7pm, until they were forcibly removed by the Ferguson police.
In summer 2016, The #LetUsBreathe Collective launched Freedom Square, a protest occupation outside of CPD black site Homan Square in Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood. For 45 days, the tent city occupation provided free food, free water, free clothes, free books, and free arts programming while living in community and imagining a world without police. The occupation was modeled after #LetUsBreathe's monthly event series Breathing Room, a multidisciplinary open mic and political consciousness incubator. The #LetUsBreathe Collective has also organized Remembering Rekia, Free Day, #BlackBrunchChi, and Brown Friday. We remix the art of protest to build power in communities and oppose police brutality, mass incarceration, and systemic injustice.