Black Lives Matter MPLS leaders speak up

BLM MPLS leaders speak out

MINNEAPOLIS -- Black Lives Matter is unlike the movements before it because it is not led, cannot be led, its members say by one voice.

"It's a decentralized movement. A leader-full movement working to liberate black folks in all realms of oppression," Michael McDowell, one of eight leaders of the Minneapolis BLM chapter, said Thursday.

Not having that one person to be led by, or to be held accountable, is a source of discomfort for those outside the movement but there is a BLM purposefully chose to be led by committee in each of its 26 U.S. chapters.

"I think it's uncomfortable because we live in a hierarchal society. All of our institutional structures embrace that kind of structure and part of this movement is actually challenging those structures," leader Lena K. Gardner said.

It was a movement created just more than two years ago – it began as a hashtag created by a woman in California sharing her thoughts on social media about the Trayvon Martin case.

It swelled quickly and she partnered with others to create the beginning of it all with social pages under the name Black Lives Matter.

The Minneapolis chapter is governed by eight people and the community that guides them.

They are very aware many of you are upset by their occupation of the Minneapolis Police Fourth Precinct and their numerous highway shutdowns.

But that, they say, is precisely the point.

"It's easier just to be confused or to be angry about these small little things instead of just saying I need to face this head on and I do have a role," leader Kandace Montgomery said.

Two different times, especially Wednesday night, violence has come at the BLM campsite at the precinct.

And Black Lives Matter says that is not their work.

"That's another group," Gardner said – adding at many of the BLM rallies and marches outside anarchists and agitators come just to invoke violence.

"One thing we are all on the same page about is that we are absolutely dedicated to nonviolent direct action," Gardner went on to say.

Black Lives Matter has no intention to stop its actions, even those that disrupt, anytime in the near future because they say demonstrations and holding their issues up to the spotlight is the only way everyone can see them.


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