May 25, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
#Remembering Rekia: The #LetUsBreathe Collective Honors the Memory of Rekia Boyd
by Celebrating with North Lawndale
May 25, 2015 CHICAGO, Il. – The #LetUsBreathe Collective joins the community of North Lawndale in remembering Rekia Boyd and honoring all who have fallen in the war on Black lives by reclaiming Memorial Day for communities impacted by police violence. The Collective will convene in Douglas Park, where CPD Officer Dante Servin confronted 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, fired into group of unarmed people, shooting her in the back of the head. Young artists and activists will lift up her name and the names of all Black women and girls, trans and queer lives, men, boys, and veterans who’ve lost their lives as result of state and interpersonal violence and build an altar in their memory. The event will culminate in a celebration of ancestors and a spoken word and music performance & cookout.
On this Memorial Day holiday, #LetUsBreathe honors the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the many wars this country has waged, remembering that there is no plot in Arlington Cemetery for the lives lost in the war waged on Black lives - a war that has been disguised as the "war on drugs," the "war or crime," or the "war on gangs” - wars fought in America's city streets, in its classrooms, detentions centers, playgrounds and parks. Black Americans are dying in a centuries-old battle that they didn't sign up for, and this Memorial Day, the #LetUsBreathe Collective lifts up those we’ve lost and spreads love to those we still have with us.
While past #LetUsBreathe actions, such as Brown Friday and The End of Silence, have directed their public critique at police, Remembering Rekia aims to instead focus efforts on empowering and engaging the North Lawndale community, lifting up its residents with a spirit of celebration, fellowship, service and remembrance. The action will include a traveling cookout and open mic that allows space for creative expression, political education, and community outreach. This action is not the typical protest or rally, but instead embodies the Collective mission harness creative capital and cultural production to deconstruct systemic injustice.
The #LetUsBreathe Collective invites the community to bring an object to add the memorial, your art, your heart, (some food to share!) and your love.
WHAT: The #LetUsBreathe Collective leads Remembering Rekia, a memorial and community celebration in North Lawndale.
WHEN: Monday May 25th, 2015 11am-2pm
WHERE: Douglas Park (starting at 15th St & Albany)
WHO: In the wake of a militarized police response to the public outcry over the death of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, the #LetUsBreathe Collective formed as a fundraising initiative to bring tear gas protection and remedies, medical and hygiene supplies, and water bottles to Ferguson protesters. Beginning in August 2014, the #LetUsBreathe Collective launched an ongoing series of donation deliveries to support the frontline resistance. #LetUsBreathe teamed up with Lost Voices, a Ferguson youth protest group that vowed to camp out in the protest area until Darren Wilson was indicted. In an effort to deepen the conversation beyond mainstream media’s one-dimensional coverage, #LetUsBreathe produced Lost Voices: A Ferguson Story, a documentary directed by Lonnie Edwards bearing witness to this resistance movement, to be used as an educational tool to mobilize youth activism nationwide. The #LetUsBreathe Collective works in collaboration with the Black Youth Project (BYP100), Black Lives Matter, HandsUp United, and Chicago Artists Against Injustice. #LetUsBreathe organized the Brown Friday protest on Black Friday and The End of Silence performance event at Stage 773 and subsequent act of civil disobedience at Belmont & Clark. It serves as an incubator for innovative activism to provoke critical dialogue and bring about social change on college campuses, within nonprofit programs, and for communities of all backgrounds.
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.